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CLIMATE

Situated in the temperate zone and jutting deep into the Mediterranean, Italy is regarded by many tourists as a land of sunny, mild weather. However, due to the north-south orientation of the peninsula and the fact that it is largely mountainous, the country's climate is actually quite variable.

In the Alps, temperatures re lower and winters are long and sever. Generally the weather is warm from July to September, although rainfall can be high in September. While the first snowfall is usually in November, light snow sometimes falls in mid-September and the first heavy halls can occur in early October, Freak snowfalls in June are not unknown at high altitudes.

The Alps shield northern Lombardy and the Lakes area, including Milan, from the extremes of the northern European winter and Liguria enjoys a mild, Mediterranean climate similar to southern Italy because it is protected by both the Alps and the Apennine range.

Winters are severe and summers very hot in the Po Valley, Venice can be hot and humid in summer and, although not too cold in winter, it can be unpleasant as the sea level rises andacqua alta (literally "high water") inundates the city.

Farther south in Florence which is encircled by hills, the weather can be extreme but, as you travel towards the tip of the boot, temperatures ands weather conditions become milder. Rome, for instance, has an average July and August temperature in the mid-20s (Celsius), although the impact of the sirocco (a hot, humid wind blowing from Africa) can produce stifling hot weather in August, with temperatures in the high 30s for days on end. Winters are moderate and snow is very rare in Rome, although winter clothing (or at least a heavy overcoat) is still a requirement.

The south of Italy and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia have a Mediterranean climate. Summers are long, hot and dry, and winter temperatures tend to be quite moderate, averaging around 10C. These regions are also affected by the humid sirocco in summer.

ROME-Elevation -17m/56ft
Average highest, lowest and water temperatures
Average rainy days and sunny hours
CAGLIARI -Elevation -18m/59ft
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MILAN -Elevation -107m/351ft
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PALERMO -Elevation -31m/102ft
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VENICE -Elevation -2m/6ft
Average highest, lowest and water temperatures
Average rainy days and sunny hours

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