Tags: caligula | coffee | table | ship | italy

Caligula Coffee Table From Piece of Ship Returns to Italy

Image: Caligula Coffee Table From Piece of Ship Returns to Italy

A bust of the Roman emperor Caligula Gajus Julius Caesar Germanicus (Roehnertt/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

By    |   Friday, 20 October 2017 03:01 PM

A piece of Roman Emperor Caligula's ship being used as a coffee table in the Manhattan apartment of an antiques dealer is returning to Italy.

A 4-by-4-foot marble mosaic with red and green inlays was seized from the apartment of Helen Fioratti, who says she bought it 46 years ago from an Italian aristocratic family who lived near Lake Nemi, where Caligula's boats originally sailed. She added that it was found in the water in the 19th century, NBC News reported.

Fioratti said she had no reason at the time of purchase to question the ownership of the piece. The sale was arranged by an Italian policeman who had helped recover artwork looted by the Nazis.

The piece dates back to 37-41 A.D. and Italian authorities believe it may have been stolen from a museum built by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in the 1920s or early '30s after excavations of the sunken ships turned up the flooring, NBC reported.

On Thursday, the piece and others believed to have been stolen from Italy were returned to the Italian government in a repatriation ceremony.

No charges have been filed against Fioratti at this time.

She still believes herself to be the rightful owner of the piece, but said the process to try to get it back is too expensive and time consuming.

“It was an innocent purchase,” Ms. Fioratti said, The New York Times reported. “It was our favorite thing and we had it for 45 years.”

The ships from which the flooring came were built during Caligula’s short four-year reign and were used as floating palaces from which parties were thrown that were thought to have lasted for days at a time.

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A piece of Roman Emperor Caligula's ship being used as a coffee table in the Manhattan apartment of an antiques dealer is returning to Italy.
caligula, coffee, table, ship, italy
310
2017-01-20
Friday, 20 October 2017 03:01 PM
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