SHARE
COPY LINK

MUSEUM

Italy’s masterpieces stolen in museum heist

Masterpieces by Rubens and Tintoretto were among 15 artworks stolen 'to order' by masked robbers from a museum in Verona, the city's mayor said Friday.

Italy's masterpieces stolen in museum heist
Verona's Castelvecchio museum and its bridge. Photo: BestKevin/Flickr

Three men dressed in black entered the Castelvecchio museum in northern Italy at the evening change of guard on Thursday, tying up and gagging the site's security officer and a cashier before nabbing the paintings.

Their haul included 'Portrait of a Lady' by Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens and 'Male Portrait'by Venetian artist Tintoretto, as well as works by Pisanello, Jacopo Bellini, Giovanni Francesco Caroto and Hans de Jode.

The museum told art investigators the works were worth an estimated 15 million euros ($16.05 million), adding that it looked like the job had likely been masterminded by a private collector.

“Someone sent them, they were skilled, they knew exactly where they were going,” mayor Flavio Tosi said, adding that 11 of the paintings stolen had been masterpieces while others were more minor works.

Roberto Bolis from the council's press office said the museum had 24-hour security but the robbery had been planned so that the thieves arrived after the building emptied but before the alarms had been activated.

“We don't yet know if they were armed, or whether they took the security officer's weapon,” he said, adding that both the guard and cashier were in shock and were being debriefed by investigators. “They tied up the security officer as well and took his keys so they could get away in his car,” he said.

One of the men watched over the hostages while the other two raided the exhibition rooms.

“It was only once they were able to untie themselves that the alarm was raised,” Bolis added.

Footage from the 48 cameras installed in and around the premises has been handed over to police.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

LA BELLA VITA

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you’ll find in Italy

From Italian podcasts to surprising delicacies and our favourite overlooked travel destinations, new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you'll find in Italy

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

A cornerstone of Italian culture, the tabaccheria is used for much more than just buying cigarettes. In fact, these little shops are pretty central to everyday life and anyone who moves to or just spends time in Italy will need to become as familiar with them as they are with the local coffee bar.

From paying bills to purchasing bus tickets, here are just some of the services you should know about and a few tips for your first visit.

Why the tabaccheria is essential to life in Italy – even if you don’t smoke

For Italian language learners: listening to podcasts is a great way to immerse yourself in a new language. Luckily there’s a vast range of audio shows for people wanting to learn Italian, whether you’re studying at an advanced level or learning from scratch. Here we’ve selected a few of our favourites, plus readers’ suggestions:

Some of the best podcasts for learners of Italian

Italy is known worldwide for pizza and gelato, but Italian cuisine is incredibly diverse and visitors are often surprised by some of the local delicacies on offer. I know rustic Tuscan cuisine didn’t exactly match my expectations when I first arrived in Italy. I quickly learned to love it – but my mother-in-law’s homemade chocolate cake made with pig’s blood (sanguinaccio is a delicacy in Puglia…) was a step too far!

So, from fried brains and tripe to suggestive desserts that you definitely wouldn’t expect the local priest to approve of, here’s a look at some more of the traditional foods loved by Italians – but not always by foreigners.

From fried brains to ‘sexy’ cakes: The Italian foods you might not expect in Italy

Visitors can find more than they bargained for at a traditional Italian food market. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

As regular visitors know, there’s much more to Italy than just the glamour of Rome, Venice or Florence, but some destinations suffer – we think unfairly – from negative reputations. From Caserta to Reggio Calabria and beyond, here are some of the overlooked Italian towns that are home to incredible sights that everyone should see at least once.

Nine overlooked Italian towns you should visit

If you’re planning a visit to Italy (or to another part of Europe from Italy) this year but want to cut down your carbon footprint, train travel is a great option and there are more routes than ever connecting Italy’s major cities to other parts of the continent.

Here are some of the main direct international train services you can use for travel between Italy and other European countries this year.

The train routes connecting Italy to the rest of Europe in 2023

Remember if you’d like to have this weekly newsletter sent straight to your inbox you can sign up for it via Newsletter preferences in “My Account”.

Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]

SHOW COMMENTS