Italian authorities have been busy recovering looted art, according to an Associated Press report that appears in the New York Times:
Authorities said they recovered or seized nearly 60,000 pieces of looted or stolen artwork and archaeological artifacts worth euro165 million ($239 million) in 2009.
That compares with the euro183 million in art and artifacts recovered in 2008, the Carabinieri art squad said in its annual accounting of the government’s efforts to recover looted antiquities and stolen artwork.
Police figures show the number of illegal archaeological excavations discovered in 2009 decreased dramatically, from 238 in 2008 to just 58 in 2009. But at the same time, the number of people charged with falsifying artwork rose more than 400 percent.
Giovanni Nistri, the commander of the Carabinieri’s art squad, said most of the falsifications were of modern art ”probably because the art of today is easier to falsify with fewer technicalities.”
Italy Recovers €165m in Stolen Art, Relics (Associated Press/NY Times)