Police investigate Etruscan Museum robbery

A police investigation is underway following the theft of some 19th-century jewellery from Rome's Villa Giulia Etruscan museum over the Easter weekend.

The thieves gained entry after forcing open one of the entrance doors. They smashed two cabinets on the upper floor containing items from the important Castellani collection comprising more than 6,000 whole and fragmented artefacts including ancient and modern gold, and amber pendants dating from the early 7th century BC.

However this activated the alarm system and before fleeing the thieves only stole some 19th-century jewellery, not among the museum's most valuable items.

Investigators believe that the thieves visited the museum before the robbery, possibly posing as tourists.

The Castellani collection of Etruscan treasures was amassed by collector and antiques dealer Augusto Castellani, whose extensive digs at Cervetri in the 1860s were funded by Michelangelo Caetani, the Duke of Sermoneta. Five years after Castellani's death, his son Alfredo honoured his father's wishes and donated the collection to the state in 1919.