The 2-page handout

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The ancient city of Pompeii near Naples, Italy, receives hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. It is one of Italy's top tourist destinations. Most tourists leave the 2,000-year-old site with happy memories, photos and souvenirs. However, some visitors take more. They take historic relics from the city – things like small statues, stones or mosaic tiles. However, many of these people are now regretting their actions. They say the relics are cursed and have filled their lives with bad luck since bringing them home. A senior official at Pompeii said he has had hundreds of packages from across the world from people returning what they had taken. Many people apologised and wrote stories about their bad luck.

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The senior official, Massimo Osanna, told reporters about some of the stories he had received. One man from Latin America explained that his life was full of traumas after he got home from Italy with a small tile he had put in his pocket. A person from Spain returned five packages containing stolen items, including a bronze statue that went missing in 1987. The writer complained that the statue had put, "a curse on his entire family". Mr Osanna is thinking about setting up an exhibition of all the letters he has received. He explained that the letters might be more interesting than the relics. He said: "It's not that the stolen pieces are highly interesting or valuable. It's more the letters."


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