Newspaper article International New York Times

Milan Library of Ex-Senator Held Stolen Rare Books ; Italian Police Say Volumes Came from Both Public and Religious Collections

Newspaper article International New York Times

Milan Library of Ex-Senator Held Stolen Rare Books ; Italian Police Say Volumes Came from Both Public and Religious Collections

Article excerpt

Some of the 20,000 books seized from the private Milan library of Marcello Dell'Utri, a former Italian senator in prison, had been removed from public libraries and religious institutions.

The authorities pursuing a thread in one of the biggest thefts of rare books in Italian history said this week that some of the 20,000 books seized two years ago from the private Milan library of Marcello Dell'Utri, a former senator in prison for association with the Mafia, had been removed from public libraries and religious institutions across Italy.

The Carabinieri police in Monza, outside Milan, said in a statement that a preliminary investigation had found among the books "the presence of works removed from public and ecclesiastical libraries, in a manner and at a time still unknown." The books date from the 15th to the 19th centuries and are valued at several million dollars, the police said.

Once they have determined the provenance of the books, a process expected to take some time, they will pass the information to the Milan prosecutors conducting the investigation, said Capt. Francesco Provenza, who directs the cultural heritage squad of the Monza Carabinieri.

The authorities first seized the books in 2013 from Mr. Dell'Utri's Via Senato Library in Milan, a private foundation, as part of an investigation into Mr. …

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