Published: Feb 07, 2012 12:16 AM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A U.S. judge is ordering the return of a nearly 500-year-old Italian painting to the family that owned it before Nazis stole it.
U.S. authorities seized the painting last November from a Florida museum where it had been part of an exhibit that had come from a museum in Milan.
"Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rogue" by Girolamo Romano, is believed to date to around 1538 and it was purchased by Federico Gentili di Giuseppe in 1914 during an auction in Paris.
He died shortly before the Nazis occupied France. The painting was part of 155 works auctioned off by the French Vichy government.
But members of di Giuseppe's Jewish family who fled the country because of the Nazi occupation have said the sale was illegal.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)