Rejoicing spilled over into violence in some parts of Romes historic centre during the late-night celebrations for Italys victory over France in the final of the World Cup on Sunday.

Police cars in Piazza Venezia at one end of the historic centre and in Piazza del Popolo at the other were targeted with metal objects as fans crowded into the centre of the city after watching the match on giant screens at the ancient Circo Massimo. Loud explosions from firecrackers were also heard in many of the narrow streets of the old city until the early hours of the morning.

The main problem area was around Campo de Fiori, a picturesque part of the city, where late-night violence on summer evenings is now frequent. The situation was made worse on Sunday night by the fact that the French embassy is situated in the adjacent Piazza Farnese.

Authorities and police in the eternal city will now be preparing for exuberant fans when the Azzurri team arrives in the capital late Monday afternoon to a welcome home from the prime minister, Romano Prodi, and then from fans in Circo Massimo.