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.

The Vatican's altar images

Peter Greenaway hopes to create a light show in the Sistine Chapel

CSI: Caravaggio: The cold case gripping the art world

400 years after one of Italy's finest artists vanished, DNA tests could finally solve mystery of his death. Michael Day reports from Milan

Michelangelo's Dream, Courtauld Institute, London

A breathtaking collection of drawings outlines the intriguing back story of the artist's dangerous desire

Travel Agenda: Rome's Caravaggio exhibition; Air Europa's new Lima route; Hangaroa Eco Village and Spa on Easter Island

Today: A major Caravaggio exhibition opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome. It marks the 400th anniversary of the baroque artist's death and continues – with accompanying lectures and workshops – until 13 June ( scuderiequirinale.it ).

48 Hours In: Rome

Italy's capital is easy to reach and hard to leave, with a wealth of antiquity, plus great gastronomy.

One Minute With: Raymond tallis

Vatican allows St Peter's 'black spots' to remain

Nails added to Michelangelo fresco will not be removed

Great Works: Leda And The Swan (circa 1515) after Leonardo

Wilton House, Salisbury

Great Works: Judith beheading Holofernes (1612-13), Artemisia Gentileschi

Museo di Capodimonte, Naples

Great Works: The Bean Eater (1580/90) Annibale Carracci

Galleria Colonna, Rome

Observations: Lucky seven are in the frame for Threadneedle Prize

The £25,000 Threadneedle Prize – a rival to the Turner Prize and now in its second year – is the most valuable art prize awarded by the public in the UK for contemporary figurative painting and sculpture.

Michelangelo (by Michelangelo): Self-portrait discovered hidden in his final painting

A self-portrait by the Renaissance genius Michelangelo has been discovered in his final painting, the Crucifixion of Saint Peter in the Vatican's Pauline Chapel, it emerged last night.

The Oxford Companion to Italian Food, By Gillian Riley

In entries from "bitterness" ("Fernet Branca is... a weird and wonderful way of mitigating a robust meal") to "offal" ("the ritual sequences of feast and fast connected with pig killing is... a glorious argument against the tyranny of the 'balanced diet'"), Gillian Riley shows that a hefty, authoritative work on the world's greatest domestic cuisine can also be personal, entertaining and readable.

Instant karma: The V&A's Buddhist Gallery

You don't have to share religious belief to appreciate art. The V&A's new gallery is more than a spiritual experience, says Tom Lubbock

Glover's Mistake, by Nick Laird

In the room, the men come and go
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy