=To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Thomas Mann, there will be an exhibition entitled Heinrich and Thomas Mann in Italy at the Casa di Goethe in Rome. The two German writers moved to Italy in 1895 to visit Rome, Palestrina, Naples, Salerno, Venice, Florence and other towns, and some of their most well-known works were begun here, such as Im Schlaraffenland (In the Land of Cockaigne) and Buddenbrooks. Younger brother Thomas described his stay in Italy as one of expediency. I, for one, lived there not out of love for the South, which after all I didnt love, but because in my homeland there was no place for me yet.

The exhibition recounts the brothers stay in Italy and is made up of 20 explanatory panels with photographs and around 30 personal belongings.

Casa di Goethe, Via del Corso 18, tel. 0632650412, www.casadigoethe.it. 12 Oct-29 Jan 2006. 10.00-18.00. Mon closed. ?3. In 2006 a part of the exhibition will permanently move to Palestrina.

=Photographs by the French artist Franois-Marie Banier are on display at the French Academy in Villa Medici. This exhibition entitled Perdre la tte or to lose ones head is made up of black-and-white photos. In fact, the use of only two colours expresses the artists wish to discover the lost simplicity of human life. Our life is overloaded with stiffness and we deserve some relaxation, Banier says. As a remedy, the artist offers his irony and black humour imprinted on celluloid.

The photographs on show can also be interpreted as the visualisation of the meaning of the phrase to lose ones head. The exhibition shows that you can lose your head behind a high pile of boxes you are carrying to the depot, or lose it simply because your head is bent forward due to senility and the passerby cant see it.

The creativity of the French artist through the years can also be admired in a separate section at the Atelier del Bosco in the academy. It features Baniers most well-known portraits, which include those of famous people such as Samuel Beckett, Marcello Matroianni, Nicole Kidman and Johnny Depp.

French Academy, Gallerie Villa Medici, Viale Trinit dei Monti 1, tel. 0667611, www.villamedici.it. 26 Oct-9 Jan 2006. 11.00-18.00. Tues closed. 8.

=Corso Polonia 2005 a long cycle of events to promote the past and the present in Poland is taking place at the Polish Institute until 18 Nov.

There will be screenings of experimental, avant-garde Polish films shot in the 1930s and 1940s by siblings Francizka and Stefan Themerson on 5 Nov at 23.00. Director Stefan was fond of experimental cinema and never gave up in the face of difficulties such as limited finance. Once he asked: Is it possible that lack of money can prevent somebody from making art? Who came first, the poet or the publisher?

Screenings will take place at Rialto S. Ambrogio, Via S. Ambrogio. 5 Nov. 23.00. ?5.

Also as part of Corso Polonia, the event entitled Polish voyagers in the world continues with its second meeting, Extreme lands at the Polish Institute on 10 Nov at 18.00. Photographer Monika Bulaj, reporter Wojchiech Jagielski and diplomat Wojchiech Grecki all Polish nationals will narrate their experiences and impressions of visiting faraway countries and encountering native inhabitants.

Polish Institute, Via Vittoria Colonna 1, tel. 0636000723, www.istitutopolacco.it.

=All those fond of archaeology can deepen their knowledge of the people who inhabitated the regions of Abruzzo and the Molise before the foundation of the Roman Empire, by attending a lecture at the British School at Rome entitled Samnite: a rural history. The lecture will be given by archaeology professor Edward Bispham from Oxford University on 16 Nov at 18.00.

Bispham, along with Susan Kane of Oberlin College (United States), has headed the Sangro Valley Project in Abruzzo, in search of ruins of the Samnites, since 1999.

The dug-out pottery in this archaeological site testifies to the fact that the people had already developed a sophisticated art before being wiped out by the Roman Empire. Bispham will shed light on the life of the Samnites by reconstructing the landscape in which they lived through photographs and artefacts. The exquisite shards discovered imply strong bonds between these ancient people and the Mediterranean culture.

Also continuing at the British School is Tracks a cycle of events that explores the latest musical trends in the United Kingdom by organising performances accompanied by explanatory lectures and meetings. The next event will feature K&A, alias Kristin Davies and Ashley Wales of the Project Dark, and will take place on 17 Nov at 21.00.

The British School at Rome, Via Gramsci 61, tel. 0663264939. Entrance to Tracks ?10. For more information see www.bsr.ac.uk.

=The Belgian Academy has organised a piano concert in conjunction with the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles at which the pianists Lynn Orazi and Franois Ducene will perform selected pieces by Debussy, Brahms and Schumann. The concert will take place on 3 Nov at 19.00. Free entry.

Belgian Academy. Via Omero 8, tel. 063201889, www.academiabelgica.it.

=The Institute of Russian Culture and Language, which commemorates the 60th anniversary of its foundation next year, has now restarted its language courses. Russian lessons, both for beginners and advanced students, are held from Monday to Saturday. The institute also organises study trips to Moscow and St Petersburg.

Institute of Russian Culture and Language, Via Farini 62, tel. 064870137.