Last month, Italian officials inaugurated the Museum of Rescued Art (Museo dell’Arte Salvata). It showcases antiquities that were stolen or lost before being returned to the institutions within the regions from which they were taken.
This new Museum is located within the National Roman Museum in the Baths of Diocletian. Its first exhibition focuses on the recovery of looted art and pays tribute to Italy’s crack art theft police squad — the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, returning thousands of art pieces, from “the black market in archaeological artifacts,” as stated on a displayed panel.
The works currently on display at the museum had been seized by the Manhattan district attorney’s office from auction houses, museums and private collectors in the United States, and now roughly 100 pieces of Greco-Roman vases, sculptures and coins dating from the 7th century to the 3rd century B.C. are on view at the museum.
Last December, 200 pieces were turned over to Italian officials, a handover described as the largest single repatriation of relics from America to Italy. In the same year, Italy negotiated with Greece to return a stone from the eastern frieze of the Parthenon in exchange for a statue of Athena. Stated Italian Minister of Culture and Tourism Dario Franceschini, “Protecting and enhancing these riches is both an institutional duty and a moral commitment: We must take on this responsibility towards future generations so that, through these artifacts, they are able to preserve identity-related values and acknowledge a shared cultural history.”
According to the Associated Press, the museum will change its exhibits every couple of months, and subsequently return the displayed objects to their original locations.
For those of you planning a trip to Rome, the current artifacts on display will be shown through October 15th of this year. And for the more adventurous among you looking for an art itinerary off the beaten path once in Italy, what could be better than to follow these stolen treasures back to their beautiful, original homes while visiting?