Udine, the volume “Don John of Austria, vol. 1 “by Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, published in London in 1883, was returned to Dr. Catriona Graham, British Consul General in Milan, by the Commander of the Unit for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Udine, Maj. Lorenzo Pella, at end of an investigation coordinated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Pordenone, framed within the international operation called “Pandora V” under the aegis of Interpol and Europol.
The investigation was aimed at simultaneously contrasting the marketing of art assets of illicit origin in several countries. As part of the operation, now in its fifth edition, a “cyberpatrolling” action was carried out which allowed the Carabinieri of Udine to identify the sales advertisement – inserted on an Italian e-commerce channel by a private individual residing in the Pordenone area – of some historical volumes in English, one of which bore clear distinctive signs of provenance from the Edinburgh Libraries.
The investigations carried out, also thanks to the activation of international police cooperation channels through Interpol United Kingdom (UK), confirmed what had already been ascertained by the military operating following direct contacts with the management of the Edinburgh Central Library, which reported that the volume in question was owned by the Scottish cultural body and that it was only aware of its absence following the report from the Carabinieri of the TPC Unit of Udine.
The elements of the investigation collected up to that moment were shared with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Pordenone, which issued a decree for the seizure of the manuscript, carried out against an advertiser who had been deferred in a state of freedom to the Judicial Authority for the crime of receiving stolen goods. .
The restitution described strengthens the consolidated relationships of collaboration between the TPC Command and the British Authorities in terms of the safety of cultural heritage and will allow, specifically, to re-incorporate the tome to the second volume of the text still present in the collection of the Edinburgh Civic Library. The work narrates the exploits of Prince Don Giovanni of Austria (1547 – 1578), Spanish leader, admiral and diplomat, remembered for his military career which saw him in command of the fleet of the Holy League, with which he defeated the Ottomans in the battle of Lepanto of 1571. The author is the Scottish academic Sir William Stirling-Maxwell (1818-1878), Dean of the University of Glasgow from 1857 to 1859, subsequently Rector from 1875 to 1878, as well as Rector of the University of Edinburgh in 1871.