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For the first time in six years, Romans woke up Monday morning to a winter wonderland after a rare storm dusted the city’s famous monuments in snow.  The storm, dubbed the “Beast from the East,”  brought a blanket of snow overnight, shutting down schools and causing major disruptions to ground and air travel in Italy’s capital city

Panoramic view of Rome covered by snow. (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
Panoramic view of Rome covered by snow. (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

According to Reuters, Rome’s main airport, Fiumicino (FCO), had only one runway operating on Sunday while the second airport, Ciampino (CIA), was closed overnight.  Ryanair, which uses Ciampino as its Italian hub, cancelled all flights to and from the airport, according to Reuters.  Despite some delays, most of Italy’s other main airports remained opened.  

In addition to airport closures, schools and public offices were ordered to close, as many people could not reach their places of work. Police asked residents to stay at home if possible. Local authorities opened several train stations as emergency shelters for the homeless. The city asked other areas to send in snow plows to help clear roads, and snow-removal crews were in place for the winter blast. 

Tourists visit the Arch of Constantine during a snowfall in Rome on February 26, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Vincenzo PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Tourists visit the Arch of Constantine during a snowfall in Rome on February 26, 2018. (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

A number of tourist attractions were also closed, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Yet many tourist and locals took advantage of the snow and had some fun at parks and sites throughout the city. The Circo Massimo and St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican were hotspots for snowball fights, as priests and seminarians were captured throwing snowballs.

Source: H/T Reuters.com

Featured photo: Tourists take pictures of the ancient Colosseum during a snowfall in Rome. (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

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