Rome, steals an ancient stone for boyfriend, then repents and returns it: I'm a bitch

An American tourist, Jess, had stolen a stone in Rome in 2017, but later repented and returned it to the National Roman Museum with a message, "I'm a bitch."

The story of a girl on vacation in Rome who returned an ancient stone fragment to the National Roman Museum a few days ago is almost unbelievable. The tourist had visited the capital in 2017, not forgetting the obligatory visit to the Roman Forum and the Flavian Amphitheater: on the spot, however, she had had the clever idea of stealing a stone, and not paying for it, she had written on it a message of love, with a black paintbrush, for her boyfriend: “To Sam, love Jess, Rome 2017” (“To Sam with love from Jess, Rome 2017”).

Evidently Jess has repented, however, because the National Roman Museum received a few days ago a package with the fragment, accompanied by a letter of apology in which the girl asked for forgiveness “for being such an American asshole.” “I am hurting,” the missive reads, “not only for stealing this item from the place where it was meant to be, but also for writing on it. It was a grave mistake on my part and only now, as an adult, have I realized how thoughtless and deplorable the act was.”

The package, the National Roman Museum let it be known, arrived from Atlanta, but there is no information in the letter that would be useful in tracing the woman’s full identity (but the tone suggests she is young), nor the place from which the stone was removed (perhaps from the Roman Forum, museum archaeologists speculate).

“Finding an archaeological artifact and taking it away with you, damaging it or, even, deciding to steal it,” the National Roman Museum commented on Facebook, “is an act that can cost you dearly. Not only from a legal point of view: witness the package that the National Roman Museum received just a few days ago from the United States. Inside was a stone fragment on which a dedication and a date were written. Accompanying the find was also a long note in which the author of the gesture expressed not only her repentance but above all her awareness, reached after a few years, of how thoughtless and disrespectful that gesture had been. To take an artifact away from a museum or archaeological area is not only to fail to understand its value as historical evidence, as a fragile object that must be treated with due care, but also to deprive it of the information it carries and, consequently, of the reality it may document. Museums and archaeological parks belong to everyone: whoever removes a part of it, even a very small part, in order to have it all for himself, commits a crime.”

However, the girl seems to have understood the lesson. The museum has therefore decided to dedicate a video in its #ilmuseotiracconta series to her, dedicated to an artifact held in its collections, the Diomedes shoemaker’s marble: the dedication is motivated by the fact that, according to the museum, Jess’s is “an important gesture because returning an artifact means giving that artifact a voice back, giving it a chance to speak again.”

Pictured: the package delivered to the National Roman Museum.

Rome, steals an ancient stone for boyfriend, then repents and returns it: I'm a bitch
Rome, steals an ancient stone for boyfriend, then repents and returns it: I'm a bitch

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