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The Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, better known as the Carabinieri T.P.C., is the branch of the Italian Carabinieri responsible for combatting art and antiquities crimes.
Il Nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Artistico was founded by General Arnaldo Ferrara on 3 May 1969. It was the first specialist police force in the world in this sector, predating the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property of 1970. On 5 March 1992 the force was renamed Comando Carabinieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale.
The main activities carried out by the unit include combating theft, illegal excavations of archaeological sites, as well as trafficking and counterfeiting of stolen property. Equal attention is paid to inspecting premises of antique dealers and to tracing and, possibly, returning stolen or illegally exported art pieces. Investigators manage such tasks by consulting the “database of stolen works of art”, a comprehensive list available to civilians and to foreign police forces alike.
Engraver: Luciana De Simoni
Depicts the Art Squad’s coat of arms. In the background is the historic headquarters of the Command of Piazza Sant’Ignazio in Rome. On the high field, a free interpretation of the “grenade” symbol of the Italian gendarmerie (Carabinieri). The engraver's name “L. DE SIMONI” and the words “REPUBBLICA ITALIANA” are below.
L. DE SIMONI
Depicts some important archaeological discoveries are represented such as the statue of Vibia Sabina, the Phoros Trapeze of Ascoli Satriano with its griffins, the Euphronios Krater and the Capitoline Triad. The date 1969 indicates the year of creation of this specialized corps of Carabinieri.