The mercury in Rome rose again today in Italy, before the peak of the heatwave expected on Tuesday, but this did not discourage tourists who flooded beaches, museums and archaeological sites.

Sixteen major Italian citiess were raised today on red alert for the heatwave, such as Bologna, Florence, Rome, Cagliari in Sardinia, Palermo and Catania in Sicily, with readings in the shade expected to be around 35-36 degrees Celsius, but the temperature felt close to 40 .

At 13:00 local time the temperature in Rome was 34°C.

At the zoo in the capital, keepers have started feeding the animals frozen fruit to cool them down, while in the Vatican, crowds of pilgrims and tourists brave the heat wave every day to enter the city-state’s famous museums.

According to the Vatican Police, 15,000 people gathered this morning in St. Peter’s Square to hear his Sunday sermon Pope Francis.

Equipped with hats or umbrellas, they protected themselves as best they could and hydrated themselves with small bottles of water sold by street vendors.

“Even hotter than Africa”

But for monks dressed in black robes, the test is even more difficult.

“It’s hard to adapt, it’s even hotter than Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Francois Beba, a 29-year-old priest in the diocese of Kenge near Kinshasa, told AFP.

“This heat continues until night, we have trouble sleeping. And we, who are dressed in black, are sweating like hell,” he adds.

“I suffer a lot from the heat. I bought a mini fan, an umbrella and bottles of water,” says Lilou Da Costa Rosa, a 48-year-old Brazilian saleswoman from Lyon.

“The queues are very long and the stay in the sun for 35 minutes at 35°C it is huge. We’ll do better at the end of the day, it’ll be cooler.”

For Elias and Karol, a Lebanese couple, there is no reason to panic. And in their country it is hot at this time of year.

“The temperature is about the same, we put on a little more sunscreen, we drink a little more water,” Carol explains.

“We didn’t think it would be 42 or 43 degrees but we had seen on Google that it would be hot,” says this 36-year-old nurse.

In Lampedusa, the Italian island located about 145 kilometers off the coast of Tunisia, where thousands of migrants arrive every year, the Red Cross, which has been running the reception center since June, “expanded the shading areas by installing awnings and gazebos,” a spokesman told AFP of Ms.

Lampedusa is one of the main entry points for migrants crossing the Mediterranean. Last year, more than 46,000 people arrived there, out of a total of 105,000 arrivals in Italy, according to UNHCR.

The meteorological service of Italys expressed fears of “the most intense heat of the summer but also one of the most intense of all time”.

In Rome, renamed to “Hell City” from the press, temperatures likely to reach 40°C tomorrow, then 42 or 43°C on Tuesday, breaking the previous record of 40.5°C recorded in the capital in August 2007.

But the highest temperatures are expected in Sardinia. The record of 48.8°C dating back to 11 August 2021, the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe, could thus be surpassed.

Heat is one of them deadliest weather events, recently reminded the World Meteorological Organization. Last summer, in Europe alone, high temperatures caused more than 60,000 deaths, according to a recent study.