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The Torlonia family, an ancient and noble Roman dynasty, had their prized possession, the “Hydrófora” statue returned to them after it was stolen almost 45 years ago. The head of the statue was taken in the night in 1978 from Villa Albani Torlonia, which is situated in the heart of Rome, and is home to the Torlonia family’s private collection of Greco-Roman sculptures. The statue consists of a beautiful Roman marble female figure holding two amphoras and pouring water into a fountain in the garden.

The head was discovered in a Swiss businessman’s house after his death, where it had been an inheritance from his family. On being notified by the Italian authorities, the woman immediately offered to return it to its rightful owners. After a year of restoration, the sculpture was unveiled to a small group of people at its original location, a small fountain within the gardens of the family villa.

The Torlonia Foundation, the foundation in charge of preserving and displaying the collection, is currently undergoing “a huge study and restoration activity” to ensure that the entire collection remains preserved and reaches the public. Filippo Edoardo Capasso, an expert restorer, has been hired to restore the collection, including the athlete sculpted in marble from the second half of the 1st century BC, which was recently restored. The sculpture is unique as it contains an ancient polychromy and was signed over two millennia ago by “Stephanos” from the school of Praxiteles.

The Villa Albani Torlonia is a closed building, usually off-limits to the public, but a few sporadic visits are organized throughout the year. It is guarded zealously by the Torlonia family and is decorated with sublime frescoes, statues, and large lamps.

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The Torlonia family private collection of Greco-Roman sculptures is considered by many to be the largest private collection on the planet. The foundation’s President, Alessandro Poma Murialdo, revealed that all the artworks are undergoing significant cleaning, study, and restoration to ensure that they remain in good condition and to enable more frequent exhibitions of the collection abroad.

The Torlonia family has successfully closed a circle and recovered a work of inestimable value, and the restored statue will enhance the extensive garden of the Villa Albani Torlonia, which was opened in the 18th century by Cardinal Alessandro Albani, a prominent art collector with well-known neoclassical taste, and later acquired by the dynasty Torlonia.

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