In Italy today, the number of cities on red alert for extreme heat has climbed from 10 to 15.
The warning points to conditions that threaten the whole population, rather than just the vulnerable.
A police unit patrolling the river give a different view of how the heat is impacting Rome.
Europe braces for ‘hottest temperatures ever recorded’ – heatwave latest
Gianluca Borsari from the National Police Rome River department said the River Tiber had dropped several metres over the last few years and is particularly low at the moment.
He pointed out the remains of an ancient Roman bridge revealed by the falling water, and a lone fisherman on a patch of mud that never used to exist.
“It makes it very difficult to navigate the river. And the wildlife suffers.”
“It is not normal,” he added, reflecting on how climate change is driving more unpredictable weather and higher temperatures.
“We used to have four seasons and now it is impossible to tell what’s going on.”
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Italy’s minister for the environment, climate change and energy security, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, told me that Italy’s geographic position means it must accept and adapt to generally hotter temperatures and more frequent and severe extreme weather.
He said that in recent years there had been an “explosion” of awareness of climate change among the Italian population as the country is increasingly impacted.
“Even if Italy is not the world’s main polluter, we still need to do whatever it takes to achieve climate neutrality goals together with the European Union,” he said.
In the blistering heat outside the Colosseum, we found locals struggling to keep going with their jobs.
Ticket seller Ahmed said: “Things do change with the heat, you come before 10am and you find people but after that they don’t come.”
Tour guide Arianna Santucci said: “It’s really, really terrible. In Rome we are used to the heat, but not this hot.”
Her colleague Manuel Nocco even suggested that people reconsider whether to come to Rome at all in July and August.
He said: “If you want to come to Rome next year you should come in September or the beginning of May because in this period it’s really hard to cope with the heat to be honest.”
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