An American tourist from Atlanta has returned a marble fragment to Italy's National Roman Museum nearly three years after originally taking it from an ancient Roman site, the museum announced on Instagram.
"I feel terribly for not only taking this item from its rightful place, but also placing writing on it as well," said a note that accompanied the stone piece.
The writing the tourist referred to was the simple message, "To Sam, love Jess, Rome 2017." Museum officials said it looked as if the sender had spent considerable time trying to scrub off the inscription.
Museum director Stéphane Verger said the stone was of little value, but was moved by the gesture nonetheless.
"It affected me precisely because she is young woman: she realized she was wrong," he said. "It is a spontaneous gesture, but the fruit of conscious reflection."
No other details are known about the tourist, save the name Jess and a postmark on the package that indicated it had been sent from the Atlanta area.