アパートのコーヒーテーブルとして使用される古代ローマの遺物 50 年

アパートのコーヒーテーブルとして使用される古代ローマの遺物 50 年
The artefact was returned to the Italian government in 2017 before going on display earlier this year

A 2,000-year-old ローマ人 artifact has been recovered after being used as a coffee table in a Manhattan apartment for nearly 50 年.

The priceless Roman mosaic dates back to the time of emperor Caligula who ruled the now fallen empire from AD 37 to his assassination in AD 41.

The artefact was the subject of Sunday’s episode of the CBS 公演 60 分, where Italian marble expert Dario Del Bufalo explained how he found the rare artefact by chance.

で 2013 signing of Mr Del Bufalo’s book, Porphyry, which details the igneous purple-red rock that Roman emperors used for their art and architecture, Del Bufalo’s recalled meeting a couple who recognised the mosaic pattern printed on the cover of the publication.

“There was a lady with a young guy with a strange hat that came to the table,” Mr Del Bufalo said. “And he told her, ‘What a beautiful book. ああ, ヘレン, 見る, that’s your mosaic.’ And she said, 「ええ, that’s my mosaic.’”

Mr Del Bufalo wrapped up the book signing to question the pair, who revealed that the artefact formed the top of a coffee table at their Park Avenue apartment.

その前, the mosaic had been thought missing. It was originally used as floor tiling in a ship that submerged in Italy’s Lake Nemi during ancient times before being recovered in the 1930s. The remaining mosaics were held in a lakeside museum but in 1944, the Nazis infiltrated Italy and used the museum as a bomb shelter burning it and its contents as they retreatedItalians claim.

The mosaic had been in a Park Avenue apartment for almost 50 年

The owner of the artefact turned coffee table was Helen Fioratti, an art dealer who owns a gallery for European antiques and lives in Manhattan. She told the ニューヨーク・タイムズ に 2017 that she and her husbandjournalist Nereo Fiorattihad bought the piece in good faith from an Italian noble family in the 1960s and had no reason to suspect they were not the mosaic’s rightful owners.

Once the Fiorattis brought the mosaic home to their Park Avenue apartment, they affixed it to a base to turn it into coffee table.

“It was an innocent purchase,” Ms Fioratti told the タイムズ に 2017. “It was our favourite thing and we had it for 45 年。」

Prosecutors for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, しかしながら, say evidence suggests the mosaic had been stolen from the Nemi museum, インクルード ニューヨーク・タイムズ 報告. It was subsequently seized in September 2017 and returned to the Italian government.

Mr Del Bufalo told 60 Minutes he sympathizes with Ms Fioratti. “I felt very sorry for her, but I couldn’t do anything different, knowing that my museum in Nemi is missing the best part that went through the centuries, through the war, through a fire, and then through an Italian art dealer, and finally could go back to the museum," 彼は言った. “That’s the only thing I felt I should have done.”

After being cleaned, the mosaic was unveiled in March this year at Nemi’s Museum of the Roman Ships.

その間, Mr Del Bufalo, had fashioned a replica of the mosaic. 彼が言った 60 分 he wants to make a copy for Ms Fioratti to return to her apartment on Park Avenue, because as he explained, “I think my soul would feel a little better.”

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