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Castelli H1 1920 x 116
Castelli H1 1920 x 116
Marymount - International School Rome

Italy gets back stolen Columbus document from 15th century

Manuscript had been stolen from Venice library.

Italy's culture minister has hailed the return of a precious manuscript in which Christopher Columbus, on his return from the Americas, announces the discovery of the New World to the Spanish royal family.

The incunabulum, printed in Rome by Stephan Plannck in 1493, had been stolen from the Marciana National Library in Venice some time before 1988, according to a press release from the culture ministry.

The original-edition letter, written in Latin, was addressed to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, who had helped finance the explorer's New World voyage.

After being printed in Rome, copies of the letter were distributed to libraries across Europe.

The eight-page document returned to Italy had been in the hands of a Dallas collector who, once informed that it had been stolen, did not oppose its confiscation by the Philadelphia Public Prosecutor's Office, the culture ministry said.

The document's return to Italy was the result of an investigation by Italy's Carabinieri art squad and the HSI - the investigative arm of the US Department of Homeland Security - with the expert help of Prof. Paul Needham.

Speaking at a ceremony in Rome on Wednesday, culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said the incunabulum will be returned to the Marciana National Library in Venice and that plans are afoot to create a travelling exhibition dedicated to Columbus in the cities of the northern Veneto region.

Photo Ministero della Cultura

 
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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia