A tourist from the US, who had defaced and then stolen a shard of ancient marble from a ruined Roman site, has returned the piece to Italy and sought forgiveness. Earlier this week, the National Roman Museum received a parcel from Atlanta, Georgia, which contained a rock with ‘To Sam, love Jess, Rome 2017‘ written on it with a marker pen, museum director Stéphane Verger told the local Il Messaggero newspaper.
According to the Insider, the rock was wrapped in a piece of newspaper, which was placed inside a cardboard box and sent along with a note expressing shame and apology. “Please forgive me for being such an American a***ole. I took something that was not mine to take. I feel terrible for not only having taken this item from its rightful place but having written on it as well. I spent hours trying to remove the writing, but without success,” the letter read.
Convinced, Verger told the local newspaper that he was moved by the message and that he thought it could be the result of an “epiphany caused by the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic”. “It affected me precisely because she is a young woman — she realised she was wrong,” he was quoted as saying.
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“It is a spontaneous gesture, but the fruit of conscious reflection. Maybe being cooped up by the coronavirus pandemic made her reflect a bit and jogged her conscience.”
Sometime last month, a tourist from Canada is believed to have returned five artefacts to Pompeii in Italy, which she had stolen from the site way back in 2005, on grounds that the stolen objects are ‘cursed’.
According to CNN, the woman, Nicole, sent back “two white mosaic tiles, two pieces of amphora vase and a piece of ceramic wall to the Archaeological Park of Pompeii”, along with a letter citing her reason for doing it. In the letter, she wrote that she was “young and dumb” when she had decided to steal the objects, adding that she “wanted to have a piece of history that couldn’t be bought”.
But, she has since been plagued with bad luck, she shared — having suffered “two bouts of breast cancer, resulting in a double mastectomy”, along with her family’s financial troubles.
Verger pointed out that the American tourist’s conscience could have been prompted by this.
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