Library theft 'incurable wound' to Naples, judge says

Girolamini case 'a fatal blow to prestige of Italian culture'

Library theft 'incurable wound' to Naples, judge says

Naples, July 10 - The theft of an estimated 1,500 precious antique books from the Girolamini library in Naples from 2011 until 2012 is "yet another irreparable wound to the city of Naples, its image and culture which deals a fatal blow to one of its extraordinary centres of excellence," according to the motivations of Judge Egle Pilla's sentence released on Wednesday. In March, Pilla convicted six people including the ex-director of the library Marino Massimo De Caro over the theft of the books. De Caro was sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from ever holding public office again. Marcello dell'Utri, a mafia-linked former close aid of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, was also involved in the probe. Dell'Utri, a noted bibliophile, is suspected of having taken possession of many of the stolen books. Investigations began in April 2012 after media reported that around 1,500 precious books were missing from the library, then under the direction of De Caro, a former advisor to the culture ministry. The probe revealed the existence of an organized ring dedicated to the systematic depletion of the manuscripts of the library founded in 1586 and known particularly for its vast collection of writings on philosophy and theology.

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