- Associated Press - Saturday, July 17, 2010

ROME (AP) - Churches and a gallery in Rome housing works by Caravaggio will stay open overnight to mark the 400th anniversary of the Italian painter’s death.

Visitors can enter for free from dusk Saturday until Sunday morning at the Borghese Gallery, which houses such masterpieces as “David with the head of Goliath” and “Boy with a basket of fruit.” Four additional paintings kept in other museums were moved to the Borghese Gallery for the all-nighter.

Also open will be three churches _ Santa Maria del Popolo, Sant’Agostino and San Luigi dei Francesi _ all in the center of Rome. The churches are home overall to another half-dozen Caravaggio paintings, including the “Crucifixion of St. Peter” in Santa Maria del Popolo.

Caravaggio died in the Tuscan coast town of Porto Ercole in 1610. At 39, he had been hugely influential and famous, but had also led a dissolute life of street brawls and alcohol.

Caravaggio died in mysterious circumstances, and the date of his passing was set at July 18 after a death certificate found in 2001 carried that date. However, some researchers — including Silvano Vinceti, who recently said he had identified Caravaggio’s long-lost remains, believe the document is fake.

Italy has been marking the anniversary with a variety of events, and an exhibit in Rome earlier this year drew over half a million visitors.