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April 5, 2013

Friday, April 05, 2013 - , No comments

Easter Theft at Villa Giulia, Rome: Roundup of information published in English

Almost one week after the Easter theft of unidentified pieces from the Castellani jewellery collection at the Villa Giulia, what details have been published in English?

Gazzetta del reported on April 2 the criticism the Italian government is facing over the museum theft in Rome:
A robbery over the Easter weekend at Rome's Villa Giulia Etruscan museum led to calls Tuesday for improved measures to secure Italy's culture ministry. "It took a multimillion (euro) theft to point attention to one of the longstanding problems that weigh on the management, protection and safety" of Italy's cultural sites, said Giuseppe Urbino, the national secretary of the Confsal Unsa Beni Culturali union.
Late Saturday, robbers stole dozens of rare items, including ancient jewelry. "Thefts have become routine, but never has any minister - at least in the last 20 years - tried to carry out a healthy safety policy". The union leader pointed the finger at spending cuts, following outgoing Premier Mario Monti's "spending review", which have left few resources for training, security upgrades and personnel, with many museum guards performing double shifts. "The management class at the culture ministry has demonstrated incompetence, and it is also for this reason that something must change in order to help culture in our 'bel paese' rise again," Urbino said.
Wanted in reports:
The thieves gained entry after forcing open one of the entrance doors. They smashed two cabinets on the upper floor containing items from the important Castellani collection comprising more than 6,000 whole and fragmented artefacts including ancient and modern gold, and amber pendants dating from the early 7th century BC. 

However this activated the alarm system and before fleeing the thieves only stole some 19th-century jewelry, not among the museum's most valuable items.

Investigators believe that the thieves visited the museum before the robbery, possibly posing as tourists.