The Department of Antiquities of the Deputy Ministry of Culture announces the repatriation of three Cypriot antiquities from Italy. The antiquities returned to Cyprus on the 18th of July 2023. The objects had been seized by the Italian authorities as part of penal proceedings. Specifically, the competent court in Florence decided the return to Cyprus of three archaeological objects for which the Cypriot authorities had requested the initiation of return proceedings. The antiquities consist of three pottery vessels, dating to the Bronze Age (around 1600‒1400 BC).

The official ceremony for handing over the antiquities took place on the 17th July 2023 at the offices of the Italian police (Carabinieri) in Rome. Carabinieri General Vincenzo Molinese, handed over the three antiquities to the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus in Rome, Mr. Yiorgos Christofides. On the same day, a short ceremony followed at the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Rome. On the 18th July 2023 the Director of the Department of Antiquities Dr. Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou and Chief Police Inspector Michalis Gavrielides, Head of the Office for the Combating of Illicit Possession and Trafficking of Antiquities of the Police Headquarters (Cyprus Police) oversaw the transfer of the antiquities to Cyprus. The objects are now kept at the Cyprus Museum in Lefkosia, where they will be inventoried, conserved and digitised, as part of the Department of Antiquities’ digitization program.

The Department of Antiquities and the National Committee for Combatting the Looting and Illicit Trafficking of Antiquities wish to express their sincerest appreciation towards the Italian police authorities (Carabinieri) and especially General V. Molinese, Captain Angelo Ragusa, and the Carabinieri Florence unit, as well as the Ambassador of Italy in Lefkosia, Ms. Federica Ferrari Bravo, whose contribution towards the successful conclusion of the case was extremely valuable. The return of the three antiquities is a result of Cyprus and Italy’s ongoing efforts towards combatting the illicit trafficking of cultural objects and at the same time, the repatriation confirms the two countries’ strong collaboration and friendship.

The Department of Antiquities, as the competent Department of the Republic of Cyprus for the protection and management of the island’s archaeological heritage, will continue its intensive efforts to further protect the cultural heritage both at a local and an international level. These actions are always conducted in close collaboration with the National Committee for Combatting the Looting and Illicit Trafficking of Antiquities. Such efforts include, amongst others, intensifying targeted investigations that aim to identify and repatriate illicitly trafficked cultural objects, further developing and employing new technologies in this field, training the personnel of the competent authorities that are involved in the fight against looting and illicit trafficking of cultural heritage and last but not least, sensitizing the general public on such issues, considering that the role of the public is extremely crucial in this field.