A 12th century manuscript will be returned to Italy from the British Library thanks to a new law governing artwork looted during the Nazi era.

The Beneventan Missal, which is thought to have been stolen from Benevento's Metropolitan Chapter during the Allied bombing of Italy in 1943, will be given back to the city of Benevento, culture minister Ed Vaizey said today.

The manuscript is the first item to be returned under the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009, which was passed to get around law preventing some museums and galleries in Britain from letting works leave their collections. The legislation makes an exception in the case of looted works.

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