From the end of this week a spell of warm weather will arrive bringing temperatures of around 20-22 degrees Celsius in many parts of the country, said forecasters from the IlMeteo weather website on Tuesday.
“Something very strange will happen from Christmas Eve and then also on Christmas and Boxing Day,” wrote meteorologist Mattia Gussoni.
An unusually warm spell is set to last around ten days, bringing sunny conditions to many regions, he said.
Temperatures are expected to be highest most along the Adriatic coast, across the south and on the major islands, with temperatures of up to 25C forecast in Sicily.
Temperatures in these areas will “certainly be more typical of the months of April and May than the end of December,” Gussni said.
The warmer-than-average temperatures were caused by an anticyclone moving in from northern Africa, he explained.
He said most northern areas could expect temperatures of “a few degrees less, but still around 8 to 12°C” over Christmas.
Areas around the Po Valley and Tyrrhenian coast will see overcast skies and scattered showers, forecasters said.
Rain and cloudy conditions are expected in northern regions on Wednesday, including in parts of Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany, before the warmer weather moves in at the end of the week.
A white Christmas is a rare event in Italy, with snowfall recorded at one Christmas out of ten on average since 1980.
But such warm temperatures at Christmas for two years running mark a “significant climatic anomaly, a sign of climate change underway, affecting practically all of Europe,” Gussoni said.