Shop closures and falling sales in Rome

600 Rome businesses closed their doors in the first six months of 2017, on top of the 2,000 that shut down in the capital last year, according to Italian business association Confesercenti.

The increasing closures of Roman shops coincides with a 28 per cent rise in the number of street traders in the capital over the last five years, according to statistics published by the chamber of commerce.

There is an estimated 20 per cent drop in retail sales in Rome this year, felt mostly in the suburbs but offset slightly in the city centre, Confesercenti chief Valter Giammaria told Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

This negative economic picture is compounded by "low cost tourism" says Giammaria – visitors who typically eat a sandwich for lunch, pizza for dinner and spend their money on cheap souvenir trinkets.

In addition Giammaria claims that in the period preceding the 1 July sales there was a complete absence of vigili to check whether unscrupulous businesses were cutting their prices ahead of the official sales date.

The chamber of commerce cites a 68 per cent increase in the number of Roman businesses embracing online sales in the last five years, according to La Repubblica.