Temperatures will rise steadily over the coming days, reaching between 38˚C and 40˚C by Wednesday.

The regions expected to reach the highest temperatures are Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo and Lazio, while the southern island of Sardinia will scorch under temperatures up to 43˚C.

As the heatwave intensifies, Italy’s health ministry is placing 16 cities on its highest heat risk level, “Level 3-Red”.

Rome, Frosinone, Pescara and Campobasso will be put on red alert on Tuesday, and they will be followed by Bari, Bologna, Bolzano, Brescia, Cagliari, Florence, Latina, Milan, Naples, Perugia, Rieti and Viterbo on Wednesday.

The heatwave - which has contributed to ongoing drought and wildfires across much of the country - is set to last until around August 8.