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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Virtu \Vir*tu"\ (?; 277), n. [It. virt[`u] virtue, excellence, from L. virtus. See Virtue.] A love of the fine arts; a taste for curiosities. --J. Spence. [1913 Webster] An article of virtu, or a piece of virtu an object of art or antiquity; a curiosity, such as those found in museums or private collections. [1913 Webster] I had thoughts, in my chambers to place it in view, To be shown to my friends as a piece of virt[`u]. --Goldsmith. [1913 Webster]