Sunday 27 February.

More than 7,000 athletes run the 21 km Roma-Ostia Marathon. Of the 7,400 people taking part in the race, 5,634 complete the course.

Following the deaths of nine young people in road accidents when they were returning from discotheques, the minister for parliamentary relations, Carlo Giovanardi, says that he will re-present a bill to parliament calling for early closure of discotheques and an end to the sale of alcohol in the early hours of the morning. A similar provision was voted down by only one vote last April.

Monday 28 February.

The German Thyssen-Krupp group agrees to increase investment at the Terni steel mills in exchange for union collaboration on the closure of one section of the works by the end of the year and the early retirement of 155 employees.

Italian husband and wife Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo win the Oscar for the best film set for The Aviator, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo di Caprio in the role of millionaire recluse Howard Hughes.

There is tension at the mortuary at the Sandro Pertini hospital in Rome when a group of Pakistani men arrive to prepare the body of a Muslim co-national who had died in the hospital; the Pakistanis object to the presence of women in the mortuary and to a crucifix. This is the first time that trouble of this sort has occurred in a Rome hospital.

Tuesday 1 March.

Two women members of the Red Brigade terrorist group are sentenced for involvement in the murder in 1999 of Sergio DAntona, an academic and councillor to the minister of employment. One of the women who turned state witness is sentenced to 14 years in prison but the second woman who does not cooperate is given a life sentence.

Wednesday 2 March.

Italian electricity provider ENEL is to start supplying gas in Rome, Florence and Turin, challenging the Italgas monopoly in these cities. One of its launch offers is for dual fuel, one bill to cover gas and electricity with 50 cubic metres of gas free for every 1,000 cubic metres consumed and 50 kwh of electricity free for every 2,000 kwh consumed.

Visitors and pilgrims continue to visit the Policlinico Gemelli where Pope John Paul II is recovering from a tracheotomy.

Thursday 3 March.

The Rome city council grants honorary citizenship to Italys president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in appreciation of his constant support of Rome as the capital and symbol of the history and unity of the nation.

Dog and cat owners in Rome may now apply for help towards the cost of sterilising their pets. 200,000 is set aside to reduce stray and abandoned animals in the city.

Friday 4 February.

Giuliana Sgrena, the Italian journalist kidnapped in Iraq more than a month ago, is released in Baghdad but secret service agent Nicola Calipari, who master minded the recovery, is killed by United States fire as they travel to the airport. Prime minister Berlusconi sends for the US ambassador to Italy and asks for an explanation for the attack.

The Rome city council approves 3 million for excavations at the Circus Maximus. The work, which should take a year, will eventually open the whole circus to the public. Professor Andrea Giardina, lecturer in Roman history at Romes La Sapienza university, does not think there will be any spectacular finds.

Saturday 5 February.

An exhibition entitled Chocolate, exquisite kindness opens at the Biblioteca Nazionale in Florence. On display are maps, manuscripts, diaries, prints, recipes and reports by naturalists, doctors and theologians relating to the passion for chocolate in 17th- and 18th-century Florence. The exhibition is open until 10 April, daily from 10.00 - 18.30.

Representatives of the musicians at the Accademia of S. Cecilia announce they will strike following the final performance of Carmen at the Auditorium-Parco della Musica on Wednesday 9 March to protest at the failure of the government to protect Italian culture and music