The long-awaited new back exit to Florence's Uffizi Museum opened 3 March. Visitors are now led through the museum to the new exit in the rear at Piazza del Grano rather than back to where they began at the entrance.

The first few days of the new system have worked well, according to museum officals. The scheme was designed to provide a more efficient way to

move people through the museum, said Marco Fossi, assistant superintendent at the Uffizi. "We've had very few problems in the first few days, nothing unexpected," he said. "The new system is working well."

The new exit is part of a larger reorganization of the Uffizi which will involve new rooms and new locations for many pieces of art. The project is supposed to be completed in 2005.

As museum visitors made their way through the new passageways for the first time staff guided them through rooms still under construction to the new exit, beyond which a long cement ramp wound

down to the street over the yet-to-be landcaped back terrece. "It's still a work in progress," Fossi said.