The fatalities, both elderly men, were found on Thursday: one in a park near the central train station in Milan, and the other in the countryside near near Ascoli Piceno in Le Marche.
The victim in Milan is reported to have been homeless, while the man in Le Marche was reported missing yesterday afternoon. He is thought to have collapsed while going for a walk.
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Stifling temperatures in Reggio Emilia on Thursday. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
The Ministry of Health has issued its maximum red alert for seven Italian cities – Rome, Florence, Turin, Perugia, Rieti, Brescia and Bolzano – while Milan, Venice, Bologna, Naples, Bari, Verona, Viterbo, Latina and Frosinone will join them on heatwave watch on Friday.
While the heat will begin to ease by the weekend in most parts of Italy, Rome, Viterbo, Latina and Frosinone remain on red alert until at least Saturday.
In the capital, the Civil Protection Department was handing out water near tourist hotspots the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and Anagnina metro station, where tour buses banned from entering the city centre drop off their passengers.
Ondate #calore, a partire dalle ore 12 distribuzione da parte della #ProtezioneCivile capitolina di bottigliette di #acqua in alcune zone della città => https://t.co/1W29nhlsV5 pic.twitter.com/P0UdZPkyFD
— Roma (@Roma) June 27, 2019
Over-75s, children under three and people with health problems are especially vulnerable as temperatures surge to around 40 degrees C in several parts of Italy. But even those in good health are at risk of heatstroke, dehydration and sunburn.
The health ministry is urging people to take precautions and check on people living alone, as well as urging them not to call the emergency services unless it's essential to avoid an overload on ambulances and hospitals.
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The Italian Red Cross has set up a 24-hour hotline that people can call for free for advice and assistance: 800 065 510.
During Italy's heatwave of 2015, so many people died that it lowered the country's average life expectancy that year. And in 2003, Europe's worst heatwave in decades killed 18,000 people in Italy alone.