Italy issues heatwave warning for 17 cities on holiday weekend

Italy swelters in days leading to Ferragosto holiday on Sunday.

The Italian health ministry has issued its highest Level 3 heat warning for 15 cities on Friday 13 August as temperatures soar amid an intense heatwave in the days leading up to the Ferragosto national holiday.

The cities included in the 'bollino rosso' warning on Friday are Bari, Bologna, Bolzano, Brescia, Cagliari, Campobasso, Florence, Frosinone, Latina, Palermo, Perugia, Rieti, Rome, Trieste and Viterbo.

The warning remains in place until tomorrow, Saturday 14 August, when the number of cities with the Level 3 warning rises to 17 with the addition of Naples and Ancona.

The heat alert comes as Italy faces the 'Lucifer' anticyclone, a wave of hot air sweeping the country, leading temperatures to reach a European record of 48.8 degrees Celsius in Sicily on Wednesday.

There has also been a spate of wildfires in the southern regions of Calabria and Sicily, resulting in several deaths and devastating thousands of hectares of land.

The health ministry advises people to avoid exposure to the sun and outdoor activity in the middle of the day, to eat lightly and to drink plenty of water. Photo Wanted in Rome, Spanish Steps, 12 August 2021.