According to data released by the state forestry department (Corpo forestale dello stato), forests in Italy have increased by 23 per cent over the past two decades. Twenty years ago the principal problem threatening vegetation was considered to be acid rain, now no longer a danger thanks to successful reforestation programmes.

This positive news is however contrasted by a new threat; namely ozone and nitrogen (azoto).These harmful gases can pollute water-tables and inhibit the growth of vegetation, their effect particularly harmful during the hot season.

Roughly one third of Italy