Work is due to start in mid-April on a new trade exhibition centre, or Fiera di Roma, in Via Portuense near the Roma-Fiumicino motorway at Ponte Galeria. The development of the 92-ha site will cost 500 million; 38,5 million have been allocated to improving road access to the area. The first stage of the work is expected to be completed by 2006, and the whole project by 2010.

The covered area will be 210,000 sqm and will include an administrative centre, a 500-room hotel, and 22 pavilions each the size of a football pitch connected by a suspended 2-km corridor. There will be parking for 6,000 cars.

Designed by the architectural studio Valle, which has recently completed the city's wholesale markets outside the Gran Raccordo Anulare on Via Tiburtina, the new exhibition centre will replace the current structure in Via C. Colombo, which is now too small and out of date.

The project is under the auspices of Fiera di Roma Spa, which is owned by the Rome Chamber of Commerce the city council, the Lazio regional administration and the province of Rome. The company will provide 25 per cent of the financing; the remaining 75 per cent is due to come from the private sector.