The Italian ministry for fine art and culture has recently announced that it is now in a position to buy the part of the Palazzo Altemps which is not already owned by the state. Palazzo Altemps, just north of the Piazza Navona, houses part of the collection of the Museo Nazionale Romano, particularly some of the most beautiful sculpture from the famous Ludovisi family collection. The state now wants to obtain the remainder of the building to make room for the Geografical museum.

It has the right of first refusal on the part of the building it does not already own but only has until 3 May to exercise this right if it is to stop the sale to a private buyer, a cooperative of eight companies, with headquarters in Naples, Vico Equense and Porto S. Stefano, for 27 million.

Rocco Buttiglione, the minister for fine art and culture in the outgoing government, now has to ensure that the purchase is followed through quickly and correctly before the May deadline.