As Rome braces itself for a heatwave the civil protection authorities have issued a red alert "Level 3" health warning for Friday 26 July and subsequent days.
According to current predictions, temperaratures are expected to rise steadily from 35 degrees on 26 July peaking at around 40 degrees on Monday 29 July, after which it "cools down" to around 38 degrees for the rest of the week.
For the duration of the heatwave Italy's health ministry has launched a hotline (no pun intended) which offers advice to people who are experiencing heat-related health difficulties, particularly the elderly. The toll-free number is 1500 and it is operational from 26 July, every day including weekends, from 08.00-18.00.
Also on Friday 26 July, between midday and 15.00, free bottles of water will be distributed to commuters at a number of Rome's metro and train stations, as part of a deal between the city's civil protection authority and Rome bus company ATAC.
There will be 1,500 water bottles handed out in each of the following stations: Saxa Rubra (Roma-Viterbo), Ottaviano and Anagnina (metro A), Ponte Mammolo (metro B), Piramide – Porta S. Paolo (metro B and Roma-Lido), Lido Centro (Roma-Lido).
For more details on the heatwave, see the health ministry website.