The Italian summer holidays are starting seriously this weekend with thousands of people leaving the city to get away from the intense heat. The two international airports that serve the city are expected to see 400,000 passengers leave the city for exotic destinations and capital cities worldwide.

At the same time the American cruisers are back. More than 8,000 of them are expected to fly into Fiumicino international airport between Saturday and Monday, to be bused to Civitavecchia to start a one week Mediterranean cruise. The cruise market, which was strong in the 1990s, lost ground after the destruction of the Twin Towers in 2001, but in 2005 there was a 5.5 per cent increase in Americans coming through Italy for Mediterranean cruises.