More than 200 ancient coins have been returned to a museum in southern Italy by a priest who was told about the theft in confession.
The unnamed penitent, presumed to be the thief himself, asked the priest to return the loot to the Paestum archaeological park near Naples, he insisted the coins had to be given personally to the site’s director, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the park said in a statement. “It’s the latest restitution by someone who feels remorseful” for stealing things, the statement added. Of the 208 coins returned, seven were fake but most of the others date from as early as the third century BC, running up to the end of the fourth century AD.
Paestum, originally a Greek colony that was later conquered by the Romans, boasts three of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world. It is not unheard of for people to return artefacts stolen from Italian archaeological sites, sometimes after decades. The former manager of Pompeii, the ancient Roman city, has said sometimes people return them in the fear that they may be cursed.