ROME (AP) — Thick snowflakes fell in Rome on Friday, a rare occurrence for a capital usually blessed by a temperate climate, and other parts of the country experienced frigid temperatures unseen in years.
The snowfall prompted authorities to stop visitors from entering the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the former home of Rome's ancient emperors.
The director of the Colosseum, Rossella Rea, said the sites were closed out of fears that visitors could slip on ice.
The last substantial snowfalls in Rome were in 1985 and 1986, though there have been other cases of lighter snow since then, including in 2010.
Snow began falling in the late morning Friday, leaving a light dusting on trees and cars and forming slush on the roads. It wasn't clear if there would be any significant accumulation on the ground. The north of the country has also been gripped by snow and ice that is disrupting train travel.
Temperatures plunged as low as minus 22 Celsius (minus 7 Fahrenheit), in Trepalle, a village in the Italian Alps.