Romans have awoken to a rare snowfall, after an Arctic storm passing over much of Europe dumped enough snow to force schools to close and public transport to reduce services.
Rome's Mediterranean climate and proximity to the sea usually result in mild winters, such that restaurants often keep outdoor seating open even through the coldest months of the year.
As a result, the Monday morning snowfall, though not huge in quantity, brought excited young Romans out for a rare snowball fight or walk in the slush.
Mayor Virginia Raggi signed an ordinance closing public schools as a precaution, and many private ones followed suit.
The Colosseum, Italy's most visited tourist site, was shut along with the nearby Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, while authorities urged people to stay at home as much as possible.
As a result, roads in Rome were unusually quiet and people could be seen in the streets taking pictures of the unusual weather conditions.
Rome's public transport company was running a reduced service for bus and a regular metro one, while rail traffic in and out of the city was severely disrupted.
Several other Italian cities were snowed under on Monday, mostly in the central regions. On Sunday, the Juventus-Atalanta soccer match was called off in Turin due to snow.
Australian Associated Press