A Canadian tourist who stole rare artefacts from the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii in Italy has returned them because she believes she has been cursed.
The woman, identified only by her first name of Nicole, sent the relics back in a package that was addressed to a travel agent in the Campania region, where the ruins are located. The agent then handed them over to the police.
Nothing but bad fortune
In a covering letter the 36-year old woman said the artefacts that she took when she visited Pompeii in 2005 had brought bad luck to her and her family, the UK-based Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.
Nicole said she had twice suffered breast cancer and endured a series of tragic events.
“Take them back, please, they bring bad luck,” she wrote. “I was young and stupid, and I wanted to have a piece of history that nobody had.”
Pompeii buried in 79AD
The objects she took are two mosaic pieces, a piece of ceramic and two parts of an ancient jar known as an amphora, the Daily Telegraph said.
Once a thriving Roman city, Pompeii was buried under ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Around 2 000 people were killed.
The preserved site features excavated ruins of streets and houses that visitors can freely explore. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1997.
Tourists steal strange things
Around the world, tourists steal all manner of items to take home as unauthorised souvenirs.
In early September, for example, a French tourist was fined the equivalent of AUD 1,600 when he tried to smuggle around 2kg of sand from the Italian island of Sardinia out of Italy.
Sardinia’s beaches are known for remarkable coloured sand, which is often very white or very pink.
Due to ongoing theft of the sand, a regional law was introduced in 2017 that makes it illegal to take sand from the beaches. Fines vary, up to a maximum of around AUD 5,000.