Rome is packed this August like never before. Fewer Romans are on holiday as many feel the pinch in the continuing economic crisis. Furthermore, the terrorist threat, after bombings in London and Sharm el Sheik, has not only hit foreign holiday bookings but also forced many public bodies to stay operational, and stagger staff leave. This means 25-30 per cent more doctors, nurses, police, firefighters and transport workers are on duty than in August 2004, according to union estimates. At the same time, tourist numbers are clearly up, says mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni. To cope with greater demand, supermarkets have ordered 10-15 per cent more fresh food products compared to last year, while overland train services to Ostia and Fiumicino are also up 10-15 per cent on 2004. In terms of services: 25 libraries are open for at least half of August (including two for the whole month), as well as the same number of swimming pools (membership not compulsory). The Estate Romana summer festival also continues, including theatre, dance and music.

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