Rome, August 14 - Sunny skies and tolerably hot weather should make the Ferragosto holiday and the weekend that follows feel comfortable across Italy, forecasters said Wednesday. Italians can enjoy their most significant summer holiday on the beach, in the mountains, or on hilly picnic grounds without fear of roasting or flooding as normal summer temperatures are expected. Clouds that had been lingering over northern parts of Italy should drift away by Thursday, said forecasters at Meteo.it. At the same time, the scorching heat that menaced parts of central Italy and extended into the south last week - and fanned forest fires on Sardinia - have moderated. "We have a prevalence of good weather," says Meteo.it. Even in Rome, which can run a little hot, temperatures will feel comfortable in the coming days because low humidity is expected, making the air feel less sultry, said Antonio Sano, director of weather website ilmeteo.it. That kind of weather should continue until the final few days of August, added Sano. He forecasts "sunshine and pleasant temperatures all over Italy in August," with maximum temperatures expected to average about 28 degrees celsius in the north, and range from 30 to 33 degrees celsius in Italy's center-south. Austerity biting into families' wallets mean that a barbecue on the beach or in the countryside or mountains are likely to be more popular options than pricey restaurant meals as Italian Catholics celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary - marked by the August 15 holiday. Heat is, of course, relative and the fur-clad creatures living in Rome's zoo can expect a watermelon treat to help them cope with summer temperatures. Monkeys, chimpanzees, lemurs, seals, turtles, hippos and the star Asian elephant Sofia have been promised the sweet fruit treats, Bioparco di Roma Foundation President Federico Coccìa said Wednesday.
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di Angelo Biscardi