Braving the Elements: A Rare Snowfall in Rome

Piazza San Pietro
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Over the past weekend, Rome got pelted with eight inches of snow, the largest single snowfall in the capital since 1986.

The rare snowfall prompted the closure of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill, and other tourist attractions. Many businesses had to close because workers were unable to access public transportation or get their cars or scooters on the road, and restaurants were unable to procure fresh milk and produce. As of Monday, residents were still digging out with the 2,000 shovels provided to them by civil protection authorities.

Heating restrictions also prevented many Romans from getting cozy in their homes: “heating in homes is only legally allowed for 10 to 12 hours a day, to cut down on pollution.”

No doubt, the wintry weather comes at a bad time for Rome, and Italy in general, as it deals with austerity measures in the wake of the European debt crisis and contends with the fact that an enormous cruise ship wrecked just off the Tuscan coast.

And, yet…the snow seemed to be a welcome relief for many Romans.

As the snow fell Friday and Saturday, I kept an eye out on social media (Twitter, Facebook), apps (Instagram), and Flickr as beautiful photos of Rome in the snow came flooding in. And I thought that this sort of thing would work well for this month’s Italy Blogging Roundtable subject – the elements – as well as bring a smile to readers’ faces. Not to mention – the ruin porn! What’s better than ruin porn with snow on it? That is indeed the icing on the proverbial torta.

Below, check out a gallery I curated from photos on Flickr and click on the links to a few of the photos I found on Instagram. You’ll see Romans reveling in Piazza del Popolo, sledding in Circo Massimo, snow dusting the Colosseum and ruins of the Forum. The Vittoriano looks lovely with a light blanket of snow as does Piazza San Pietro.

Perhaps my favorite photo comes from Instagram – instead of building a snowman from the fresh accumulation, one Roman built a replica St. Peter’s Square!

You can really get a sense of the giddiness in these photos, a respite from the bad news of 2011-2012. Enjoy!

Instagram Photos

Flickr Gallery: Snowy Rome

2012 Snowfall in Rome Gallery via Flickr

Read the posts, leave comments, share them with your friends – and tune in next month for another Italy Blogging Roundtable topic.

Photo by Flickr user msako23

Last updated on May 17th, 2023

Post first published on February 8, 2012

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