IN PHOTOS: First snowfalls of season turn northern Italy white

After months of warm and wet weather, winter has well and truly arrived in Italy with snowfall as far south as Sardinia. And more flakes are on the way.

IN PHOTOS: First snowfalls of season turn northern Italy white
Snow covers the village of Sassello in Liguria. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

While the Alps are already blanketed, this week even areas at lower altitude got a taste of snow.

READ ALSO: 'A different kind of Christmas': What's in Italy's new emergency decree?

The village of Sassello in Liguria. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

The first flakes of the year fell on the northern cities of Milan, Turin, Genoa, Parma and Bologna, among others, on Wednesday night.

There was even snow in the mountains near Rome and on the island of Sardinia, hundreds of kilometres further south.

Meanwhile other parts of the country have been drenched by heavy rainfall, including Venice where authorities were braced for high tides.

More snow is forecast over the coming days, especially in the north-west.

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Unfortunately for snow tourists, Italy's mountains look set to remain closed to skiers until at least January as the country cracks down on travel over the holidays. 

READ ALSO: Italy bans travel between towns over Christmas

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Winter weather words in Italian

la neve – snow

la nevicata – snowfall

i fiocchi – flakes

innevato – snow-covered

imbiancato – turned white

il gelo – ice

l'inverno – winter

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Italy braces for first heatwave of the year with highs of over 30C

Temperatures are set to rise dramatically across Italy this weekend as the country prepares for its first real heatwave of the year, meteorologists said on Friday.

Italy braces for first heatwave of the year with highs of over 30C

People across Italy are preparing to head to the beach this weekend with unseasonably hot weather predicted to last for several days.

The heatwave is caused by an anticyclone named  ‘Hannibal’ sweeping in from Tunisia and Algeria, bringing hot air currents across the Mediterranean and as far north as Denmark and Poland, reports news agency Ansa.

Temperatures are forecast to rise above 32-33°C in parts of the Italian north including Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige, and Emilia Romagna, before the heatwave expands towards the centre and south of the country over the course of the weekend.

The weather is already 8°C above the seasonal average for this time of year, according to Antonio Sanò, founder of the Italian weather site, and temperatures could rise by as much as 10°C.

READ ALSO: From Venice to Mont Blanc, how is the climate crisis affecting Italy?

In a typical year these kinds of highs wouldn’t be seen until July, Sanò said.

The incoming heatwave will be particularly humid as the anticyclone is carrying moisture from the Mediterranean sea, according to IlMeteo.

However, the relative cool of the Mediterranean basin at this time of year will contain the heat and keep the temperatures from rising into the high 30s, as would happen if the same type of weather event occurred in August.

READ ALSO: Nine in 10 Italians ‘want more action on climate crisis’, new study finds

The heatwave will stretch over the weekend and continue into next week, peaking on Tuesday, according to weather reports.

Patchy thunderstorms typical of midsummer weather are anticipated in the Alps and the Po Valley, while the centre-south is set to experience hot and sunny conditions bar some isolated storms in the mountains of Abruzzo on Sunday.