Rome, Florence and Bologna among areas affected as forecasters say Sicily and Sardinia could face record 49C temperatures

Sixteen cities across Italy have been issued with red alerts as southern Europe continues to experience fierce heat and faces the possibility of record-breaking temperatures.

Rome, Florence and Bologna are among the areas affected by the heatwave, with forecasters suggesting that Sicily and Sardinia could see temperatures climb as high as 49C (120F), which would be the hottest ever recorded in Europe.

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