Police discover 37 stolen masterworks in Amalfi coast villas

Including painting attributed to Guido Reni

Police discover 37 stolen masterworks in Amalfi coast villas

Rome, March 14 - Carabinieri art police have found 37 stolen masterworks of great value, including a painting attributed to Guido Reni, at a number of villas on the Amalfi coast. The artworks were stolen over the course of two decades and include paintings and altarpieces stolen from churches in the Abruzzo city of L'Aquila after they were declared unsafe and closed in the wake of the 2009 earthquake, investigators with the Carabinieri art police TPC unit said Tuesday. The masterworks include the "Cristo prega nell'orto" (Christ Praying In The Garden) attributed to Guido Reni and five 17th-century altar tablets. Three people are under investigation. The probe kicked off in September 2017, Carabinieri police said, after a number of entrepreneurs were registered as owners of a vast number of antique artworks of dubious origin. Prosecutors in the Campania city of Salerno then identified a group of suspected dealers in stolen art and collectors who were allegedly willing to buy from them, investigators said. They added that the 37 artworks seized on Tuesday were all listed in their data bank of stolen artworks. In particular, altar tablets from the 1600s and 1700s were registered as stolen before December 2012 from two churches near L'Aquila which had been partly destroyed by the quake and were still closed to the public - San Nicola in Capestrano and San Giacomo Apostolo in Scoppitto. Other artworks included two 16th-century altarpieces from the church of San Rocco in Formia near Latina and the Guido Reni painting, which was stolen in August 2012 from the home of an aristocratic family in Naples, investigators said.

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