“I wanted to have a piece of history that couldn’t be bought,” wrote the woman, who said she was “young and dumb” at the time.
Since returning to Canada, she said, she has suffered two bouts of breast cancer, resulting in a double mastectomy, and her family has also been in financial trouble.
Pompeii is one of the most famous archeological sites in the world.
Salvatore Laporta/KONTROLAB/LightRocket/Getty Images
“We can’t ever seem to get ahead in life,” she wrote, blaming the bad luck on the tiles.
“I took a piece of history captured in a time with so much negative energy attached to it,” she wrote. “People died in such a horrible way and I took tiles related to that kind of destruction.”
Nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, showering Pompeii with hot rock, volcanic ash and noxious gas and burying its residents.
The woman related how she had given another tile to a friend and told her of the decision to send her artifacts back, but she said she doesn’t know if the friend will return hers.
“We are good people and I don’t want to pass this curse on to my family, my children or myself anymore,” she wrote. “Please forgive my careless act that I did years ago.”
Pompeii is one of the world’s most famous historical sites, and archaeologists continue to work on the remains.
The building, one of Pompeii’s best-known sites, was shut to visitors in 1980 after suffering damage in an earthquake, but it has now reopened as part of the Great Pompeii project, which launched in 2014 with the aim of safeguarding the ancient city.