This paper discusses the use of Random Forest (RF), a popular Machine Learning (ML) algorithm, to perform spatially explicit nowcasting of cloud-to-ground lightning occurrence. An application to the Italian territory and the surrounding seas is presented. Specifically, 1-hour ahead lightning occurrences over the months of August, September and October from 2017 to 2019 have been modelled using a dataset including geo-environmental features. Results obtained with three different spatial resolutions have been compared, for nowcasting both positive and negative strokes. The features’ importance resulting from the best RF models showed how datadriven models are able to identify the relationships between meteorological variables, in agreement with previous physically based knowledge of the phenomenon. The encouraging results obtained in terms of forecasting accuracy support the idea to use ML-based algorithms in early warning procedures for disaster risk management.