Sunday 6 March. Giancarlo Fisichella, Formula 1 racing driver who comes from the Tiburtina area of Rome, won the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, driving for Renault.

An illegal trade in milk products from France was uncovered by magistrates in Milan; six people were arrested, accused of producing up to 100,000 litres of long-life milk per day using imported products that were destined for consumption by animals only.

Monday 7 March

The Tarpean rock at Romes Capitoline hill is being X-rayed by experts from the architecture faculty of La Sapienza University to see what lies below the famous hill. New technology will enable experts to create a 3D model of the rock and its grottoes, which will show if consolidation work is needed.

Absenteeism at Trambus, the Rome city public bus and tram company, has dropped by 25 per cent since 1 March when new rules for sickness payment came into effect. Payment for the first three days of sickness is being withheld and workers now receive only 50 per cent of their normal pay from the fourth day of absence. Drivers are protesting that they are having to work with influenza or after taking medicines that could affect their ability to drive.

Tuesday 8 March.

The authority which oversees Italian television has ruled that any form of publicity for astrologers, palm or card readers or fortune tellers will only be permitted from 23.00 until 07.00.

Wednesday 9 March.

Rome city council is opening a Carers register. There are an estimated 100,000 carers working in Rome looking after the sick and elderly at home. Rome has more that half a million residents who are over 75 years old. Application for inclusion on the register can be made from Monday 14 March at Via Botero 16/a (metro Colle Albani), from Mon Fri 09.00 14.00. For information tel.0607843348.

Modifications to the Italian highway code were passed almost unanimously by Italys chamber of deputies. According to the proposals, which must now pass the senate, drivers who cause a fatal accident will now have their licences removed for five years instead of two. There are also provisions for the fast payment of preliminary damages to accident victims, which will allow the courts to enforce payment of up to 50 percent of the expected award before the judge has reached a final decision.

Thursday 10 March.

A 14-year-old boy, Sebastiano Maglione, was shot dead in what is thought to be a baby-gang killing in Mugnano near Naples. He was the 27th person to be killed in the Naples area since the beginning of this year.

Friday 11 March.

Emma Bonino, Italian Radical party member of the European parliament, has been put forward by Italy as a candidate for the position of United Nations high commissioner for Refugees.

A student prank ended in tragedy when a 21-year old American student, on a visit to Rome from Prague for the weekend, was swept away by the current in the Tiber. He was attempting to swim the river at 04.00 after a night spent drinking in pubs at the Campo de Fiori. His body is still missing.

Saturday 12 March.

The English Rugby team beat Italy 39-7 in the Six Nations championship at Twickenham in London.

A strike by the orchestra of the Accademia of S. Cecilia caused the cancellation of three concerts conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch. This is the first of a series of strikes called to protest the governments indifference to the arts and music.