ROME (Reuters) – A handwritten letter by Renaissance artist and historian Giorgio Vasari has been returned to its owners in Tuscany more than 20 years after it was stolen, Italian police said on Thursday.
The letter was dated March 18, 1566 and is believed to be worth around 20,000 euros ($21,760).
Vasari’s letter, which disappeared from the archive of the Fraternita dei Laici institution in Arezzo in 2001, was recovered with the help of Sotheby’s auction house in London and Brussels, police said.
It had been in the possession of a Belgian family who handed it over when they learned of its origin.
Vasari, who is regarded as the first art historian, was born in the central region of Tuscany, where he served the Italian banking family and political dynasty the Medici, in Florence.
The letter has a formal tone and was sent to the rectors of the charitable Fraternita to discuss Flemish painter Jan van der Straet, also known as Giovanni Stradano, active in the 16th century in Florence.
In the letter, Vasari disclosed the painter’s fees as well as commenting on the progress of his works.