Italy’s heat wave could hurt Colosseum, vineyards, olive oil production
The Colosseum could start crumbling, wine grapes wither on the vine, a risotto shortage is on the cards and olive oil may run dry as Italy bakes under a crippling heat wave 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 country’s wine industry and critical rice and olive production.
Two people are believed to have died in the region of Liguria because of the heat. Temperatures in several parts of the country were expected to have reached 40 C Sunday, prompting the National Research Council’s Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (CNRISAC) to issue a rare tornado warning for central Italy.
Since May, 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.
The CNR-ISAC also warned extreme temperatures and solar radiation combined with dust and pollution could cause fractures in marble, limestone and other stone used to construct the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
“We see the immediate effects on our monuments after flooding or heavy rain, but there is also impact caused by slow and continual change over time,” said the CNR’S Alessandra Bonazza.