The long-running saga of the attempts to dislodge the Circolo degli Ufficiali (officers club) from the Palazzo Barberini in Rome is finally reaching a conclusion. The present minister of fine arts and culture, Francesco Rutelli, has announced that alternative quarters for the club have been found in a nearby building and that the rooms of the palace, occupied for some 70 years by the club will be vacated on15 October 2006.

The Palazzo Barberini houses the Italian states main collection of pictures from the 13th to the 17th centuries, with pictures up to the beginning of the 19th century being displayed at the Palazzo Corsini in Via della Lungara.

The move of the officers club will increase the space for exhibiting pictures by 2,900 sqm. Works to render these and further rooms in the palace suitable for hanging pictures will continue until 2009, giving a final total of almost 10,000 sqm, enough for the display of 550 paintings against the present 200. The first new rooms will be ready in December 2006.

Eventually the whole collection, including the pictures now in Palazzo Corsini will be united under the one roof, thereby creating one of the most important galleries in the world.