Italian towns switch heating on early as temperatures plummet

Residents in some of Italy's coldest areas have been permitted to crank up the thermostat a week ahead of schedule amid a cold snap affecting most of the country.

People in many parts of Italy are turning up the heating this week after temperatures plunged.
People in many parts of Italy are turning up the heating this week. Photo: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP

Mayors of towns including Bolzano and Campobasso have authorised residents to switch on their central heating from Friday, October 8th, a week ahead of schedule.

The mayor of the northern province of Bolzano signed an ordinance allowing heating systems in residential buildings to be switched on from Friday, as temperatures in the area plunged below seasonal averages and were forecast to drop further over the weekend, news agency Ansa reports.

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Meanwhile Campobasso, a city and province located at a high altitude in the southern region of Molise, has also said residents can switch their heating on – but not for more than seven hours a day and without exceeding an indoor temperature of 20C.

In the interests of saving energy, Italy has national rules in place about when different provinces can use central heating (riscaldamento centralizzato) in residential buildings, based on their average seasonal temperature. Many areas also have maximum temperature and time limits.

As you’d expect, northern and mountainous areas are the first to be allowed to switch on the heat in October, while some parts of the south can’t turn up the dial until December.

The first switch-on is usually scheduled for October 15th in areas like Bolzano and Campobasso, which are deemed to be among the coldest parts of the country, in ‘Zone E’.

Other municipalities may yet decide to allow an early switch-on, with a wave of low pressure pushing temperatures down further in the coming days and bringing bad weather across the country.

The ‘Zone E’ designation, which means you can have your heating on from October 15th to April 15th for 14 hours a day, applies to the following provinces:

  • North-west: Alessandria; Aosta; Asti; Bergamo; Biella; Brescia; Como; Cremona; Lecco; Lodi; Milan; Novara; Padova; Pavia; Sondrio; Torino; Varese; Verbania; Vercelli.
  • North-east: Bologna; Bolzano; Ferrara; Gorizia; Modena; Parma; Piacenza; Pordenone; Ravenna; Reggio Emilia; Rimini; Rovigo; Treviso; Trieste; Udine; Venice; Verona; Vicenza.
  • Centre: Arezzo; Perugia; Frosinone; Rieti.
  • South: Campobasso; Enna; L’Aquila; Potenza.

Residents of Cuneo, Belluno and Trento, meanwhile, are in the colder ‘Zone F’, where no heating restrictions apply.

See the full list of zones here.

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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.