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.

The Blagger's Guide To...Samuel Johnson

Ten pages of quotes, but none about oranges
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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?