Rome is full of tourists for the Easter weekend, the city authorities claiming that the numbers are 20 per cent up on last Easter. The streets are thronged and the coffee shops and bars, particularly those with tables on the streets and squares, are packed with foreigners enjoying the warm spring sunshine. To cater for this influx the state and city authorities have agreed that all museums and archaeological sites will be open all day on Easter Sunday and on Easter Monday, as will all the special exhibitions in the city such, as that of Antonello di Messina at the Scuderie del Quirinale and of Modigliani at the Vittoriano.

Furthermore, on Friday 21 April all the city council museums and sights, such as the Capitoline museums, the Roman Forum, the Museo di Roma and the Centrale Montemartini on the Viale Ostiense will be open free of charge in honour of the citys 2759th birthday. On the same day the Ara Pacis will formally re-open to the public following several years of construction work . The Altar of Augustan Peace was commissioned by the Roman Senate to celebrate the establishment of peace in the Roman Empire following the Emperor Augustuss victories in Gaul and Spain. The altar was consecrated on 4 July in 13 BC and is now housed in an impressive new building designed by the American architect, Richard Meier. For information and bookings for the city council museums and sites tel. 06 82059217 and for information about state owned museums and sites see www.beniculturali.it