Part of the returned Chinese cultural relics (Photo/Xinhua)
Hundred of looted Chinese cultural relics were returned to China from Italy on Wednesday in what is the largest repatriation of its kind since about 3,000 smuggled artifacts were returned from Britain in 1998.
The 796 items left Milan on Tuesday night and arrived in Beijing on Wednesday morning.
According to China's National Cultural Heritage Administration, the artifacts were found at a local market in 2007 by the Carabinieri Art Squad, an Italian police unit responsible for combating crimes related to cultural relics. The items are thought to have been illicitly exported from China.
The cultural heritage administration had been negotiating with the Italian government on the possibility of securing the repatriation of the items through judicial channels. Earlier this year an Italian court issued the final ruling on their return.
During President Xi Jinping's visit to Italy in March, he met with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and witnessed the signing of an intergovernmental agreement that gave the green light to the return of the artifacts.