Massive heatwave hits southern Europe this summer (2023),

The intense heatwave of summer 2023 is forging all over southern Europe. People are actually dying – and it’s scary. Gary and I lived in Arizona and let’s face it, Phoenix can hit 115 Fahrenheit easily on a summer day. The difference for us? The desert of Arizona has low humidity. Therefore, that factor alone makes a huge difference in feeling and coping with the heat.

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First of all – I will forewarn you, this is an unusual post for us. We don’t usually post about the weather, as obviously, Mother Nature always has her own ideas. But I read that tourists are actually changing their minds about coming to Europe this year. It surprised me.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a meteorologist or claim to be. This post is completely my opinion based on various articles and websites I have visited.

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Heat Factors

Of course, there are many possible influences on Europe’s current weather and heatwave. I present you two ideas from the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

The Atlantic Ocean heatwave that was reported on by the Copernicus Climate Change Service in early July. During June, and into the start of July, the Atlantic Ocean has been warmer than average across most of its basins, especially near North America and Europe. While atmospheric circulation can affect the ocean, the opposite is also true. For example, ocean heatwaves can affect atmospheric circulation patterns and can also warm up the airmasses above them. Sea surface temperature anomalies in the eastern North Atlantic have reduced since the exceptional peak in June, but marine heatwaves continue in parts of the region.

The current extreme heat is due to an anticyclone, a high-pressure system, that is dominating the upper atmosphere over southern Europe. As well as compressing and warming air, high-pressure systems are associated with reduced cloud cover, allowing more solar radiation to reach the ground. This allows for substantial heating of Earth’s surface by the sun, heat which then moves upwards into the atmosphere. The long days and short nights of summer mean that this heating effect is maximised. Large scale winds, advection, blowing hot air for example from northern Africa into Europe, can also contribute to heatwaves. For the current heatwave this factor seems to be less important.

Copernicus Climate Change Service
Both these books beautifully capture the essence of Italy, its people, and the strong sense of community that defines life in small Italian towns. With lyrical prose and reflections, Ilene & Gary invite readers to accompany them on a journey of self-discovery and transformation in the heart of Tuscany.
Books by Ilene and Gary Modica, Our Italian Journey, When Your Heart Finds Its Home and audiobook,

Have You Seen The News? Heat in Greece

In July, several European countries sent firefighting teams to Greece as wildfires in that country raged. Yet, we know the worst is yet to come… August!

Greek authorities have indicated that several historical sites, including the Acropolis, might close to tourists this summer. Probably check the website if you are planning to visit.

Massive heatwave hits southern Europe this summer (2023),
photo credit: The Limited Times of lines at the Acropolis


In addition, parts of northern Italy have also faced torrential rain, hail stones the size of tennis balls, and flash floods. Thunderstorms have caused electrical damage, even setting a house on fire, while strong winds have uprooted trees and taken the roofs off many properties.


I also saw on the internet, The European Commission, Emergency Response Coordination Centre posted a red alert for heat for parts of Croatia while the country faced one of the worst storms in recent history. They reported high winds and torrential rain pounded much of the country, killing four people, two in the area of Zagreb. As a result in July, over 100 people were injured and 2,000 buildings were damaged.

Know before you go to southern Europe - Massive heatwave hits southern Europe this summer (2023),
photo credit: Daily Mail

The Heat in General

Several regions in southern Europe have been affected by extreme heat over the past month. Forecasters are predicting more scorching weather to come.

According to the site DW, parts of Spain saw temperatures as high as 113F in the middle of July. In the Canary Islands, some 400 firefighters were fighting a fire across 8,649 acres of forest.

In addition, on July 18th in the south of France, temperatures reached around 104F.

Massive heatwave hits southern Europe this summer (2023),
photo credit: Greek City Times

The European Travel Commission

According to the European Travel Commission, some vacationers are already changing their plans to avoid the heat. Mediterranean destinations have seen a 10 percent drop in visitors aiming to travel there from last year,

Meanwhile, destinations like the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Ireland, and Denmark are experiencing a surge in popularity. According to an article from the European Travel Commission, travelers are wanting to visit less crowded destinations and countries with milder temperatures.

“If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.”

-Mark Twain

Climate Change

There are strong opinions on this subject and there are just as many people who believe in global warming as do not. Well, that’s my take on it. This post is not meant to debate this subject. Please don’t leave a comment about where you stand on this matter. (Please read the conclusion below) Personally, I’m not sure exactly where I stand. I believe in the statistics I read – something is going on in this world.

Seems like Europe is not alone in this heatwave. This year has seen both the hottest June on record globally, according to EU climate monitoring service Copernicus.

Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 800,000 years, there have been eight cycles of ice ages and warmer periods, with the end of the last ice age about 11,700 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.

-NASA Global Climate Change
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Finally, the main purpose of this post is to make you aware of the heat if you’re traveling this summer to Europe. Be aware of your limitations perhaps due to your age or a health condition. Don’t plan every moment of each day out walking during the hottest part of the day. Maybe only go half the distance on that hike you were planning.

The point is to be aware. Whatever the reason(s) are causing this – be smart. Especially relevant – we hope you get to explore new places – safely.
Know before you go - Massive heatwave hits southern Europe this summer (2023),


  1. Ilene
    It’s Jeff from Palm Beach Fl
    I’ve been here over 20 years and this summer is by far the hottest ever- so it’s everywhere!
    Read & enjoyed both of your books
    My new YouTube channel (iloveitalian) where I do mostly Italian restaurant reviews locally is starting to do well! I can’t wait to return to Rome ( October) and will continue the reviews and some travel tips –
    Hope it starts cooling down soon for you guys
    Salute. Jeff

  2. Ciao Ilene, what’s typical clothing for Lucca for September? I am trying to choose what to pack! Will linen and other summer-friendly fabrics take me through the whole month or do I need “fall” clothes too for later in the month?

    I’ve read that Italians dress for the season and not the temperature….do you have a sense of when they put away summer clothes and start wearing fall fabrics? Grazie!!

    1. Ciao Julie! You are correct and Italian do dress for the season. So difficult to answer this question as it could be both. Still warm enough for linen but it could be cool and you might need a warmer fabric- especially at night. Weather is difficult to perdict so I would look just before you come and see what Mother Nature has going on.

  3. Ciao Ilene, I was in Sicilia in June and was comfortable, however the temperature skyrocketed after I left. Spent July in Arizona where it was unbearably hot with temperatures reaching 120. I always think of you when I am in Arizona. We have been lucky enough to have visited Italy the last 2 years and pray we can continue doing so. I would love to meet you and Gary one day in Italy and will continue to travel with you vicariously through your books and your blog, as you explore my bellissima Italia, and share your adventures with us. Thank you and blessings to you both. Ciao. State al fresco.

    1. Thank you Filippa for thinking of us when in Arizona! We would love to meet one day – you know its our favorite thing to do. Stay in touch… and stay cool!

  4. During my recent visit to Portugal mid July,, they had a ‘cold wave’. While most of Europe sheltered, we enjoyed breezy days with temps in the high 70s low 80s day time and 60s in the evenings. I felt lucky. But the lack of rain for several years helped cause a huge raging forest fire just outside Lagos.
    The weather here in Florida is setting record heat and humidity. The heat index can go to 105f. Our October visit to Italy can’t come soon enough!

  5. Oh my, Ilene! These two books were a joy to read for so many reasons! My husband and I have visited Italy every year since 2017 (except 2020). We have got to visit with you next summer. We have so much in common beginning with Long Island all the way to our love of Italian doors (oh the pictures….). I will keep reading your blog and keep you posted as to when we’ll be in Lucca. We did visit in 2019, but only stayed a week. I’m thinking it’ll be a bigger part of our summer visit this time. Thanks aga8n for touching my heart. Annette

    1. Touching YOUR heart? YOU touched mine with such a lovely comment. Thank you Annette and we’d love to meet next summer! Keep us posted by email and we will try and make it happen in Lucca!! Thank you again!

  6. Ciao Ilene,
    I moved from the dry climate of Colorado to the humid climate of the Costa del Sol near Malaga, Spain. We are still sweltering with heat and humidity in October!

    I want to move to Italy, and am currently reading your 1st book and am trying to find a less humid area of Italy to live in. Any suggestions?

    1. Ciao Cynthia! Thank you for reading our book. Please consider leaving a written review when finished as it will help us greatly in ranking! Unfortunately, all of Italy is pretty much the same. Coming from Arizona – I wish there was a region here with less!

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