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Italy issues red alert heatwave warning for 22 cities

Rome included in 'bollino rosso' warning as heatwave sweeps Italy.

The Italian health ministry has issued a 'red alert' warning for most of the country's main cities on Wednesday and Thursday due to an intense heatwave, as temperatures reach an unseasonal 40°C.

The cities included in the weather warning are Ancona, Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Campobasso, Catania, Civitavecchia, Florence, Frosinone, Latina, Naples, Messina, Palermo, Perugia, Pescara, Reggio Calabria, Rieti, Rome and Viterbo.

The red alert remains in place for these 19 cities on Thursday, with the addition of Trieste, Venezia and Verona, bringing the total to 22.

The 'bollino rosso' indicates emergency conditions with possible negative effects on not just the elderly, sick or very young, but also on healthy and active people.

The heatwave comes after weeks of severe drought in many parts of Italy as the government prepares to issue a state of emergency to help the regions worst affected by the water crisis.

The health ministry recommends avoiding exposure to the sun and outdoor activity in the middle of the day, as well as advising people to drink plenty of water, eat lightly and preserve their medication properly. Dogs should be walked early in the morning and late evening.

Tourists in Rome should be aware that the city's historic fountains are off-limits, no matter how hot it gets, with fines of €450 for those caught entering the waters.

Photo credit: Vereshchagin Dmitry /

Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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