Carabinieri Art Squad

Palazzo Sant'Ignazio in Rome, headquarters of the Carabinieri Art Squad

The Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale, better known as the Carabinieri Art Squad, is the branch of the Italian Carabinieri responsible for combatting art and antiquities crimes.[1][2]


Il Nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Artistico was founded by General Arnaldo Ferrara on 3 May 1969. It was the first specialist police force in the world in this sector, predating the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property of 1970. On 5 March 1992 the force was renamed Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale.[1]


The force has four sections: archaeology, antique dealing, fakes, and contemporary art. It is led by a colonel and headquartered in Rome, with twelve regional offices. It functions in coordination with the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali.[1][3]


The force investigates clandestine excavations, the theft and illicit trade in works of art, damage to monuments and archaeological zones, the illegal export of cultural property, and fakes. It is involved in the monitoring and control of archaeological sites, and the activities of art and antique dealers, junk shops, and restorers. The force is also involved in forensic analysis; the development and promotion of educational materials; advising overseas ministries, police forces and customs bodies; international peacekeeping missions; and the protection and recovery of cultural property in disaster zones.[4]


The force works internationally with organisations including UNESCO, UNIDROIT, ICOMOS, ICOM, and INTERPOL. Domestically it works in partnership with a number of universities, cultural foundations, and research centres, including ICCROM, as well as the local soprintendenze and ecclesiastical bodies.[4]

Publications and Media

The force maintains a database of stolen works.[5] As of 1 March 2011, some 5,290 missing items were listed as having particular economic or cultural value.[6] It also publishes a Bulletin of Trafficked Art Works, 2010 seeing the 32nd annual issue.[7]


In 2009 some 39,584 looted antiquities and 19,043 other works were recovered, valued at €165 million. In 2008 works valued at €183 million were recovered. Improved international collaboration, site security, and databases saw a drop of 14.5% in stolen Italian works between the two years, while the number of illegal archaeological excavations discovered fell from 238 in 2008 to 58 in 2009.[8] In 2009 137 items relating to the Medici case were returned from Switzerland, recovered from the Zurich-based restorers Fritz Burki & Son, who had worked on the Euphronios krater. These items included statues, pottery, and a first-century AD fresco. A further 300 items were still being sought in cooperation with Swiss authorities.[8][9] In 2010 a statue of Zeus was recovered that had been stolen from the Museo Nazionale Romano in 1980.[10] The force has also been active in Iraq, surveying sites at risk, providing training, developing systems, and helping to recover 2,971 objects illicitly trafficked since 1990.[11][12]


See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale - Introduzione". Ministero della Difesa. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  2. "The Carabinieri Art Quad". BBC. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  3. 1 2 "Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale - Articolazione". Ministero della Difesa. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  4. 1 2 "Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale - Compiti". Ministero della Difesa. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  5. "Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale - Banche Dati". Ministero della Difesa. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  6. "Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale - Opere di particular rilevanza". Ministero della Difesa. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  7. "Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale - Bolletini". Ministero della Difesa. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  8. 1 2 "Italian Authorities Recover Euro165 Million in Stolen Art, Relics". Associated Press. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  9. Watson, Peter; Todeschini, Cecilia (2006). The Medici Conspiracy. PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1-58648-402-6.
  10. "Zeus statue returned to Italian museum after 30 years". The Telegraph. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  11. "Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale - Bolletini". Ministero della Difesa. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  12. Zottin, Ugo (2008). "24. Italian Carabineers and the Protection of Iraqi Cultural Heritage". In Stone, Peter G. The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq. Boydell & Brewer. pp. 235–240. ISBN 978-1-84383-483-0.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/29/2013. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.