The Ministry of Health issued the level three, or red alert, weather warnings as the heatwave gripping much of Europe peaks in Italy.
The maximum heat warnings cover much of the north and centre of Italy, while many southern areas are expected to feel relatively cool.
Red alerts apply to the cities of Rome, Florence, Perugia, Turin, Bologna, Bolzano, Brescia, Frosinone, Genoa, Pescara, Rieti, Trieste and Verona. Level two amber alerts are also in place for much of the country.
This indicates “high temperatures that can have negative effects on the health of the population,” the Health Ministry writes, adding that the heat is dangerous for over-75s and children under three & people in poor health.Five green spots stand out on the map: the parts of Italy not affected by extreme temperatures today are Palermo, Reggio Calabria, Messina, Bari and Cagliari.
The stifling conditions will also worsen air pollution, the ministry said, meaning that those with respiratory problems or allergies are also liable to suffer.
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.