Italian tapestries missing since 1995 found in Florida home and gallery


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The FBI’s Italian counterparts, known as the Carabinieri, recovered two missing 16th century Italian tapestries in Florida.

According to the FBIthe Tutela Patrimonio Culturale (which translates to “Protection of Cultural Heritage”) of the Carabinieri discovered the tapestries, which were thought to be lost forever.

The first of the 16th century tapestries was found in a photo from an online publication featuring a restored historic home in Florida.

The FBI said the photo showed the tapestry, which had been missing since it was stolen in 1995. The photo was flagged by the Italians for FBI liaison in Rome.

Authorities approached the owner, who purchased the tapestry 22 years ago. According to the FBI, authorities explained that the coin belonged to Italy and was stolen before the current owner purchased it.

The owner agreed to return the tapestry.

“Considering the owner bought the piece for $27,000, that was no small sacrifice,” according to an FBI story.

The local FBI office in Miami learned in May that a gallery in Jacksonville had another 16th-century tapestry for sale on its website.

The tapestry was stolen from the same gallery in Milan in 1995, according to the FBI. It was sold for $55,000 in 2003.

The gallery agreed to return the tapestry, although the owner said it was his favorite piece.

The gallery owner and owner did not know the ownership history of the tapestries.

“The Italian government and the US government work closely together on art crime cases, and we have for years,” said Special Agent Marc Gervasi of the FBI’s Miami field office. “We have had great success in repatriating stolen items to Italy, and Italy is helping the FBI in its investigations significantly.”

Gervasi said a buyer should always ask about the provenance or place of origin of each piece of art.

“If a seller cannot provide provenance, the buyer must determine if they want to proceed with that purchase,” Gervasi said.

The two tapestries were sent back to Italy in June.


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