The 4th-century BC Asteas vase from Campania, a 6th-century BC funerary stele from Selinunte in Sicily and a precious Etruscan bronze candelabra are the first returns on a long list of historical works of art that Italy is claiming back from museums and collections overseas. The Getty Museum in Malibu, California, has taken the initiative and already returned these precious artefacts to Italy after recognising their illicit origins. The announcement was made by Italian Culture Minister Rocco Butiglione and Romes chief public prosecutor Giovanni Ferrara. The latter has had particular success recently tracking down some of the several thousands of precious objects smuggled out of Italy and sold from illusory Swiss art collections to buyers throughout the world. The Italian authorities hope to retrieve more of the estimated 3,000 plus works that have left Italy in this way and ended up in some of the worlds most prestigious museums including The Getty, The Metropolitan in New York, the Museum of Toledo in Ohio and the Glyptothek in Copenhagen.
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