Italy on high alert as scorching temperatures threaten historic buildings and agriculture

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The Colosseum could begin to collapse, grapes could wither on the vine, a shortage of risotto is expected and olive oil could dry up as Italy bakes in crippling heat and drought.

Nineteen cities were on high alert across Italy on Sunday amid warnings that record summer temperatures could cause irreparable damage to historic monuments, as well as threaten the wine, rice and oil industries. country olives.

Two people are believed to have died in the Liguria region due to the heat, and temperatures in several parts of the country are expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius on Sunday, prompting the National Research Council’s Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (CNR-ISAC) to issue a rare tornado warning for central Italy.

For three consecutive months – May, June and July – national temperatures have been at least two to three degrees above the seasonal average. Bologna, Florence, Milan, Rome and Venice were among the cities on alert Sunday due to the African high pressure zone dubbed “Apocalypse 4800”.

CNR-ISAC also warned that extreme temperatures and solar radiation, combined with dust and pollution, could cause fractures in the marble, limestone and other stones used to build the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

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