Italian police recovered tens of thousands of artifacts in 2009, the Associated Press reports. Recovered items include 2,000-year-old frescoes, statues, and decorated vases. Last year, authorities recovered or seized nearly 60,000 artworks and archaeological artifacts, worth €165 million ($239 million), that had been looted or stolen.
That compares with €183 million in stolen or looted art and artifacts recovered in 2008, a decrease of 14.5 percent. The number of illegal archaeological excavations discovered in 2009 also decreased dramatically compared to 2008.
Yet, the number of people charged with falsifying artwork has risen by more than 400 percent. The commander of the Carabinieri's art squad, Giovanni Nistri, said most of the fabrications were of modern art, "probably because the art of today is easier to falsify with fewer technicalities."
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