A rare snow storm in Rome on Monday disrupted transport, shut down schools and prompted the authorities to call in the army to help clear the streets.

Only one runway was operating at Rome’s main airport, Fiumicino. The Italian capital’s second airport, Ciampino, was closed overnight and workers were clearing a runway to allow it to reopen on Monday morning.

Italian aviation officials said Ryanair, which uses Ciampino as it Italian hub, had decided to cancel all flights to and from the airport. But they said most of Italy’s other main airports were open despite delays to some flights.

It was the heaviest snowfall in Rome in six years and the largest for the end of February in decades. The city, which is not equipped to deal with snow emergencies due to their rarity, asked other areas to send in snow ploughs to help clear roads.

Rome wakes up to a blanket of snow as icy winds blow from Serbia
Reuters Agency

Rome wakes up to a blanket of snow as icy winds blow from Serbia

The Italian capital of Rome awoke to an unusual blanket of snow on Monday for the first time in six years. Rome’s local authorities closed schools and parks in order to deal with the unusual climatic conditions, something the capital’s services are not used to dealing with. Italy is set to encounter some freezing weather over the next few days as icy winds arrive from Siberia.

Schools were ordered closed in the Italian capital, where many people could not reach their places of work. Police asked residents to stay at home if possible.

Piazza Venezia, Rome’s central square which is usually a cacophony of car horns and a tangle of traffic, was eerily empty, quiet and white as dawn broke.

In St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican priests and seminarians threw snowballs at each other.

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