Italy Recovers $1.8 Million in Stolen Art

MILAN, Italy -- Authorities have recovered works of art worth $1.8 million that had been stolen from churches, castles and private homes throughout northern Italy since 1990, the Carabinieri paramilitary police said Tuesday.

The 19 paintings and one 18th-century kneeling stool were discovered last month at the home of a farmer near the city of Cremona, about 62 miles southwest of Milan, officials said. The 59-year-old man is charged with receiving stolen goods and has been cooperating with authorities to identify accomplices, said Capt. Andrea Ilari of the Carabinieri's art theft squad.

The art work found at the farmer's home includes two paintings by 20th-century artist Carlo Fornara, which investigators said were stolen last year.

Officials said much of the art appeared to have been stolen from the Thun Castle in the Trentino-Alto Adige region, near the Austrian border. Among the most valuable works recovered were a 17th-century painting of Saint Jeremiah by Pietro Ligari, stolen in 1995 from a church; and "Ecce Homo," by 16th-century painter Denys Calvaert, which had been stolen from a home near the northern city of Varese, officials said.

Ilari said in a statement that the Lombardy region, which includes Milan, "has the most important market for high-level stolen art."