The National Research Council (CNR) on Monday announced this year Italy has experienced its driest climate since 1880.

Researchers said rain levels have been more than 30 per cent under the average rainfall between 1971 and 2000.

“Starting in December 2016, months of almost constant losses have been registered, except for January, September and November,” the council stated.

“To find a similar year, you have to go back to 1945.”

The council added that 2017 has been the fourth hottest year on record, after 2015, 2014 and 2003.

Several Italian regions have declared drought emergencies this year and have rationed water to cope with the scarce resources.

Some sources of the River Po have dried up and historic glaciers are now a fraction of what they once were.

The drought has caused millions of euros in damage to the agricultural industry.