- Published: 27.07.2023.
14th century processional cross returned to Croatia after 50 years
Foreign Minister Grlić Radman underscored that the return was yet another confirmation of the intensive, friendly and good-neighbourly relations between Croatia and Italy, testifying to the two countries’ respect for international conventions on the return of stolen treasures. Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said that after the necessary inspection at the Croatian Conservation Institute, the cross will be returned to St. Francis' Monastery in Zadar, from which it had been stolen in 1974.
She thanked everyone involved in the return, notably the Lia family, which bought the cross in good faith with all the necessary papers and are returning it without any legal proceedings. The silver-enamelled and gold-plated cross depicting Zadar’s protectors was kept at Amedeo Lia Museum in La Spezia, Italy, where it was first recognised by British researcher Donald Cooper in 2009.
Croatian Ambassador to Italy Jasen Mesić reported on the eight-month-long return process involving a number of Italian institutions.
Senior Inspector at the Ministry of Culture and Media Tamara Ganoci Frisch said that the restitution was the result of intensive cooperation and professionalism on both the national and international level, highlighting the issue of illegal trade of cultural artefacts. “The theft robbed this artefact of its inherent value – the historical context,” Ganoci Frisch said, adding that it would regain that value once it is returned to St. Francis' Monastery in Zadar for which it had been commissioned.