Arts and Entertainment Rome sweet Rome: Tony Servillo in 'The Great Beauty'

From its delirious opening montage of disco divas, ageing socialites and strippers at play – one imagines Berlusconi's bunga bunga in a nutshell – Paolo Sorrentino's Roman satire has its sights fixed on epic greatness. There's a touch of La Dolce Vita in its fluid portrait of the city as carnival, with its parade of nuns, tourists, freaks, hangers-on, performance artists and other jokers. It is overseen by the dapper, disenchanted Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), a journalist who once wrote a great novel but is now more famous for his roof-terrace parties and languid cynicism. The haute bourgeoisie circles Jep moves in turn a blind eye and a Botoxed pout to the depressed, debased society around them, preferring to dance themselves dizzy and drink themselves silly. (Sample dialogue: "What job do you do?" "Me? I'm rich". "Great job"). Nor is there any recourse to religion when Vatican prelates offer not spiritual succour but top cooking tips.

Spotlight falls on artworks in Detroit’s search for sellable assets

As Detroit goes down what could be a painful path to resolve its debts, attention has turned to the city assets that might be sold off to raise much-needed funds, including the valuable paintings and other objects that are part of the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Street Fight in Naples, By Peter Robb

If you're heading for Sicily this autumn, Peter Robb's masterpiece Midnight in Sicily is de rigueur. If Naples and environs is your goal, you may be better off saving this extraordinary work until you get back. The muscular exuberance of Robb's style – one of the finest in contemporary English – is perfectly suited to Neapolitan brio but the central topic of this book is the art of the 16th century.

Italian art historians claim they have found 100 early Caravaggios

The works showed 'the faces, bodies and scenes Caravaggio would use in later years'

A six-pack is the Holy Grail of men's fitness

Journey to the Planet of the Abs

A six-pack is the Holy Grail of men's fitness. But just how difficult is it for an average male to achieve? Gym-shirker and beer drinker Tom Mitchelson gave himself six weeks to get into shape

A six-pack is the Holy Grail of men's fitness

How to perk up your pecs

A six-pack is the Holy Grail of men's fitness. But just how difficult is it for an average male to achieve? Gym-shirker and beer drinker Tom Mitchelson gave himself just six weeks to get his abs in shape

Caravaggio: Exile and Death, The Place, London

His life was full of drama, but it's the art as much as the painter that inspires this absorbing show

Great Works: Crucifixion of St Peter, 1601 (230cm x 175cm), Caravaggio

Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome

Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane, By Andrew Graham-Dixon

A portrait of the artist as a young villain

Caravaggio, By Andrew Graham-Dixon

Feuds, brawls, exiles, murders, sexual intrigues (of every variety): tell with flair and zest the life and times in Milan, Rome, Naples and Malta of Michelangelo Merisi (1571-1610), and it already makes for a shockingly rollicking read.

Michelangelo's basilica may finally be completed

The mayor of Florence wants a referendum to decide if the city should embark on a major work by Michelangelo that was shelved because of the huge cost nearly 500 years ago.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Serpentine Gallery, London

An Arte Povera pioneer reveals the miracle within cheap materials – and gives us a vision of our wonderful selves

Are new books on Italian art and history simply re-framing old pictures?

In July 2008, I sat in the early-evening sun on the terrace of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli – the palace, surrounded by exuberant fountains and cascades, built in the 1550s for Lucrezia Borgia's son Ippolito as a sort of consolation prize for his failure to win the papacy. I strained to spot the dome of St Peter's, supposedly visible across the plain that separates the Sabine Hills from Rome. But my companions, local councillors and archaeologists, had more than tourist clichés on their mind. They told me about the hysteria that had recently greeted the election over in Rome of a mayor with a neo-Fascist past, Gianni Alemanno (who's still in office).

Dutch coach drives Britain on

Van Commenee cites Michelangelo as his model as records fall and medal prospects rise

A lost Michelangelo? Art scholar claims controversial find in Oxford

A respected Italian art scholar claims to have identified a previously unknown painting by Michelangelo at the University of Oxford.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
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Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
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'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

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Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

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