The Ministry of Public Health has declared a "red alert" for 17 Italian cities, including: Rome, Bologna, Napoli, Bari and Palermo.
The ministry's "red alert" – or level 3 threat – is defined as: "Emergency conditions (heat wave) with possible adverse health effects for healthy and active people".
According to Meteo Giornale, temperatures in Sardinia peaked at record 46 Celsius this week. According to Meteo Expert, Italy, along with parts of the west coast of the USA, was one of the hottest place on earth this week.
Meanwhile thunderstorms and torrential rains have returned to the north of the country, especially in Piedmont, Lombardy and Valle d'Aosta. Italy is squeezed between a heatwave from the west and a cold rush hailing from the east.
The chronic heatwave has taken its toll on more than humans. Repubblica reports that in apiaries near Rome, 50 per cent of bees have died of thirst. According to trade association Coldiretti – cited in Ansa – Italy has produced 10,000 tons of honey this year, one of the worst yields for 35 years, down 50 per cent compared to last year.
At least 11 regions have requested "a state of emergency" be declared to handle the dry heat. Maurizio Martina, minister for agricultural, food and forestry policies, says €2.3 billion euro is being spent to improve water supply and irrigation in key affected areas. Wildfires continue to burn across the country, especially in the south.
"It is necessary to put in place a mix of interventions to deal with water scarcity, which has a great impact on various activities," said Martina, cited in Il Sole 24 Ore.
For more detailed information about weather in your area, see forecasts at the national meteorological data centre.