There is only one word to describe the past week: insanity. I’ll explain- this past Friday, it snowed in Rome for the first time in 26 years! It snowed about four inches, but to the Romans, it was as if it snowed a foot. Since it almost never snows in Rome, everyone here was very unprepared. Roads weren’t plowed, sidewalks weren’t shoveled, and steps weren’t salted. It was very difficult to get around- there was slush up to my ankles and ice everywhere. Also, the buses stopped running so you either had to walk, take the subway, or just stay inside!
Being from the Northeast, I, as well as the rest of Temple Rome, couldn’t believe the disorder that took place as a result of the snowfall. Had we received the same amount of snow in Philadelphia or New York, streets and sidewalks would have been instantly cleared and nothing would have been closed. Here in Rome, restaurants were closed because they could not receive any produce, so this also meant that cooking wasn’t an option because the supermarkets couldn’t receive any deliveries either! I think that on Friday and Saturday night, everybody just ate pasta.
My boyfriend Kenny came to visit for the weekend, and had never been to Rome before. So, of course, I wanted to show him all of the major sites: the Colosseum, the Forum, Pantheon, and so on. However, these sites, including half of the Vatican Museums, were shut down due to the weather. I guess the Romans really don’t know how to handle the snow! Kenny and I still did a lot of site seeing, and he’ll be back in the spring to see the places that we couldn’t go to this time.
I discovered that the most popular Italian fashion item for snow are Moon Boots. They literally look like what they are called, and they come in many different colors. Everyone was wearing them, and I felt a little out of place without them! I did see some women still wearing their high-heeled shoes trying to ignore the snow, which was a funny sight. Many Temple Rome students were also unprepared clothing-wise, because we were advised not to bring snow boots since it doesn’t ever snow here. That being said, many of us, including myself, invested in some snow boots this weekend which got a lot of use.
Even though nobody was expecting this type of weather, everyone dealt with it in a light-hearted way. Walking outside, I would meet cute little snowmen along the sidewalk, as well as grown men throwing snowballs across the street at each other, using parked cars as a protective wall. St. Peter’s Square was full of photographers, trying to capture the very rare image of Michelangelo’s dome dressed in white. People on the sidewalks would stop midstep to just look around, and would chuckle to the person next to them. Snow is something that I have grown up with and constantly take for granted, but many Romans have never seen snow before. Although this weekend was very chaotic, I got to witness and be a part of an important piece of Roman history!