The Italian Almanac

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Gelato and bottled water sales are soaring as the overheated weather system 'Charon' continues to ferry sweltering temperatures up from Africa and across almost every part of Italy. Charon, named for the mythical ferryman in Hades, is the force behind temperatures soaring as high as 40 degrees C, making conditions dangerous for children, the elderly, and anyone else who has difficulty adjusting to weather extremes.

Italy is enduring some "truly hellish" days, says Antonio Sano, director of the website www.ilmeteo.it To beat the heat, night swimming is in vogue on the Tuscan beaches of Viareggio, and beaches all over Italy are swarming with people trying to cool off. Heat is also being blamed for several fatal accidents in recent days.

In Pescara, a 28-year-old man died after he fell from the roof of his house where he had gone to seek fresh air. Another man drowned in a lake in the province of Modena, after he was thrown in at about 4 a.m. following a barbecue with friends who saw him sink.

Inferno-like days are predicted for most of the summer in Italy, at the same time, the hot temperatures will likely bring violent local storms with hail across northern Italy, from Piedmont to Lombardy and the Alps while humidity will make the temperature feel like about 40 degrees C in the Emilia Romagna and Veneto regions.