A lifeline is being thrown to senior citizens to help them endure the summer heat. The new scheme has been set up by the city hall and the Lazio regional council, with the assistance of the local health authorities, the protezione civile and senior citizen advisory associations.

It consists of two main points: "Pronto Nonno" and "Angeli di Roma". The former is a freephone number for the over-65s, active 24 hours a day, which will put callers in touch with a specialist network ready to give advice about any problems which the soaring temperatures may cause. The operators will assess situations and decide on the best method of intervention, and in the event of an emergency, they can arrange hospitalisation without the usual lengthy delays in an A&E ward. To access the service, tel. 800147741 (active from 1 July).

But it's not only about emergencies: the summertime in Rome will also include moments of diversion for the elderly, via the "Angeli di Roma" project. From 16 July between 10.00 and 16.00, Monday to Friday, several of the capital's parks (Villa Borghese, Parco del Pigneto, Caffarella, Villa Pamphili, Parco delle Tre Fontane in Eur) will have areas set aside for games and entertainment.

Special summer "oases" have also been arranged in six different areas in and around the capital: day centres, with free transport to and from (to be arranged with the service provider), there is a choice of two seaside locations (Nettuno and Ostia), two spa resorts (Tivoli and Cretone) and two water parks (Boccea and Villalba di Guidonia). Available to residents of Rome, senior citizens can book up to six consecutive days in any one setting, with prices ranging from