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On the agenda: What’s happening in Italy this week

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On the agenda: What’s happening in Italy this week
Tourists in Rome protect themselves from the sun. A scorching heatwave in Italy this week could push temperatures in the capital to a new record high. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

From a 'record' heatwave to heavy traffic, here’s what to expect in Italy this week.



Blistering heat with potential highs of 48C

Meteorologists have warned people in Italy to prepare for "the most intense heatwave of the summer and also one of the most intense of all time" early this week.

Temperatures were forecast to exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in Rome by Monday and may even reach 43°C on Tuesday, smashing the city's heat record of 40.5°C set in August 2007.

A new anticyclone - a wave of high pressure - from the south, nicknamed ‘Charon’, was expected to bring temperatures of up to 40C to northern regions.

Tuscany, Lazio and Puglia were all expected to see the mercury rise well above the 40C mark.

The islands of Sicily and Sardinia could see temperatures as high as 48°C, as the European Space Agency warned of "potentially the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Europe".

(Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

This could break the current European heat record of 48.8°C, set in the Sicilian province of Syracuse in summer 2021.

According to the latest forecasts, the current ondata di caldo won't start to ease off on Saturday, July 22nd.  

Crisis meetings over summer strikes

Italy’s transport ministry Matteo Salvini will hold meetings with national airport staff representatives this week reportedly aimed at preventing further strikes during the summer months. 

The meetings were called by Salvini last week before air travel to and from Italy descended once again into chaos on Saturday due to an eight-hour nationwide walkout.


The minister said that he relied on “the common sense” of industry workers to prevent residents and visitors from having their summer “ruined by strikes upon strikes”. 

Unions were quick to express their outrage at Salvini's statements, accusing the League leader of “acting like a hotshot” after, they said, ignoring the issue for over two months.


Italy remembers Paolo Borsellino 

Wednesday will mark the 31st-year anniversary of the tragic Via d’Amelio (Palermo) bombing, a terrorist attack by Sicily’s Cosa Nostra that killed anti-mafia magistrate Paolo Borsellino and five members of his police escort in July 1992. 

Heartfelt marches across the entire country, including in Borsellino’s hometown, Palermo, will commemorate the occasion. 

The Via d’Amelio bombing is widely considered one of the darkest pages of recent Italian history but, thirty years on from the vicious attack, Borsellino continues to be the symbol of anti-mafia efforts in Italy, inspiring new generations of magistrates to carry on his fight. 

A demonstration on March 21, 2023 at Piazza Duomo in central Milan, to mark the 28th day in memory of victims of the mafia. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)



Rome’s Festa de Noantri celebrations

Celebrations for Rome’s Festa de Noantri (literally, ‘our feast’) – a beloved two-week festival dating back to the 16th century – will peak on Saturday, July 22nd, when an iconic religious procession will uncoil down the cobbled streets of the Trastevere district. 

A bejewelled and finely-dressed statue of the Virgin Mary will be carried from the church of Sant’ Agata to the church of San Crisogono, followed by the usual crowd of locals and tourists. It will remain there for eight days before being carried back by boat on the Tiber river the next Sunday. 

READ ALSO: Eight things you can do in Rome for free

Further details about the festival's 2023 edition can be found on the city website.


Saturday and Sunday

Heavy traffic expected on Italian roads

Motorists on Italian roads may face heavy traffic over the weekend as thousands of people around the country will leave for their holidays in the first episode of the yearly esodo estivo ('summer exodus'). 

The official traffic calendar issued by Italy’s state police every summer forecasts heavy congestion for the entire weekend, with roads seeing 'possible critical conditions' on Saturday morning and all day on Sunday.

READ ALSO: TRAFFIC: The worst dates to travel on Italy's roads this July

Based on previous years’ events, motorways connecting the north of the country to the south and smaller roads (strade statali) leading to coastal areas and other holiday hotspots are the most likely to become clogged with traffic over the weekend.

You can keep up to date with the latest developments on Italian roads by consulting this online map from Italy’s motorway construction and maintenance company ANAS.


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