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Cash injection fails to end fears for Zaha's Rome gallery - image

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The Italian government has coughed up Eu10 million (£6.9 million) in a bid to ease mounting fears over the future of Zaha Hadid's new museum of 21st-century art in Rome.

The move comes after weeks of speculation about the high-profile Maxxi project, which has only received a quarter of the Eu80 million (£55 million) needed to complete the scheme.

According to local sources, the government's Council of Ministers has agreed to a financial package as an 'urgent measure' to help the museum continue with the next phase of development.

Culture and heritage minister Rocco Buttiglione welcomed the cash injection, but warned the deal was only an 'initial answer' and was still insufficient.

The project, which was scheduled to open in 2007, has been mired in controversy for months.

The issue over funding first raised its head in January 2005, when gossip-mongers claimed the scheme could be abandoned if fresh funds could not be found.

At the time, Zaha Hadid was keen to play down the rumours, saying ample resources had been put aside for the project and that she was already working on phase two (AJ 27.01.05).

Yet observers noted even Hadid seemed downbeat on a recent visit to the site, where she admitted the project was now only moving along 'slowly'.

by Richard Waite

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