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Bid to recover Michelangelo letter

Vatican authorities are working on recovering a letter written by Michelangelo that was stolen from an archive in 1997.

Spokesman Federico Lombardi said the Vatican has recently been offered the return of the letter in exchange for a payment, but that officials have refused. Instead, he said the matter has been turned over to the Vatican gendarmerie for further investigation.

Mr Lombardi was responding to a report in the Rome daily il Messaggero that said a former employee of a Vatican archive has asked for a ransom of 100,000 euros (£72,000) to return the letter.

According to il Messaggero, the letter is a rare example of Michelangelo's handwriting, and contains his signature.

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