Carabinieri return 9 stolen rare books to Monreale library from 1980s

The Carabinieri of the Cultural Heritage Protection Unit return nine sixteenth-century books to the Ludovico II de Torres Library in Monreale. The ceremony for the return of these valuable historical and cultural books, stolen in the 1980s, took place on June 15th at 10:30. This was the result of an investigation coordinated by the Palermo prosecutor’s office and the collaboration between the Carabinieri Tpc unit and the Ludovico II De Torres Library in Monreale, which had previously recovered 61 sixteenth-century books from the Getty Research Institute in 2023. The Carabinieri identified the stolen books on websites during their daily monitoring activities. Further investigations confirmed that the Export Office of Antiquities and Art Objects of Sicily had never authorized the export of these books. Following an international request made by the prosecutor’s office, the responsible individuals at UCLA University in Los Angeles voluntarily returned the books.

Some of these sixteenth-century books are rare, while others are unique in the world, such as those related to the Battle of Lepanto. One example includes a letter reporting the victory against the Turks in Venice in 1571. The recount of the Battle of Lepanto is told by an eyewitness, Antonio Egizio, the steward of Paolo Giordano Orsini, Duke of Bracciano. The description also includes the exhortation of a Capuchin father to the soldiers while holding a crucifix. The books also contain lists of the Florentine and Venetian noblemen killed in the battle. The descriptions of the returned books also indicated markings that are specifically linked to Archbishop Ludovico II De Torres of Monreale, which are still found in books kept in the library. These markings were added by the Cardinal, who brought numerous books from Rome to Monreale and signed them with his own signature, accompanied by a Pontifical Bull from Pope Clement VIII in 1593, which declared the books to be inalienable under penalty of excommunication for anyone who removed them. The consultation of the Ministry of Culture’s database on unlawfully removed cultural assets managed by the Carabinieri Tpc unit played a crucial role in the recovery of these books.

I carabinieri riconsegnano alla biblioteca di Monreale 9 libri di grande valore rubati negli anni ’80

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