26 February 2018. It will be a day I’ll remember forever. One I’ll look back at fondly in years to come. Not only because it was my sister’s birthday but because it will go down in my history as the first time I experienced a real snowfall.
Yes, is the answer to the question I most commonly get asked: “Doesn’t it snow in Australia?”, “You’ve never seen snow before?”.
Yes – I’ve ‘seen’ snow in my (many) years: in Abruzzo and once, I even spent a New Year’s Eve in a snow-covered New York City. Hell, a couple of times I even convinced myself that some frozen rain in Paris was snow. But I had never seen snowflakes fall! Until today.Our refuge for the the night: the stunning Hotel d’Inghilterra. This image of the Colosseum is by my talented friend, Gillian McGuire. You can check out her blog here. (The following 3 images are by my friend Toni Brancatisano. You can check out her tasty food blog here) And so I say thank you Burian. This is the name of the cold snap that hit Italy and parts of Europe this week. It hails from Siberia and she’s been a bloody, cold nasty beast! But thank you, thank you. It has rained incessantly in Rome for days. No, I mean non-stop. Then a drop in temperatures was predicted, as was snow for Sunday night.
So many Romans have laughed in the face of such predictions. And rightly so. This isn’t a ‘snow’ city! It’s one where stinking hot summers follow warm springs and mild winters. It snowed for the first time in decades in 2012 but I missed it as I was in Australia for the holidays.
But not this time! Burian – you and I were destined to meet and it was destined to be just beautiful.
In another special, serendipitous twist – I was staying (I mean, working!) in one of the most beautiful hotels in Rome when it happened. I was booked in for the night at the 5 Star Starhotels Hotel d’Inghilterra, right of the glam shopping strip of Via dei Condotti and up the street from the Spanish Steps.
After a cold Sunday spent with a friend, we had a delicious meal at the hotel’s Cafe Romano (more to come and more on my social media) and then retreated to our Executive Junior Suite to bunker in for the night. I stayed up until 2am (when it was predicted to fall) and kept putting my hand out the window to determine whether it was snow or rain. Then it came… soft, white and beautiful snowflakes. I fell asleep finally and at 6am my friend excitedly woke me up – with 3 words – “Quick, it’s snowing!”
I covered up and we watched the show from our fourth floor balcony. It was just magical. The rooftops of Rome were covered white and the flakes just fell and floated through the ice cold air. I checked-out of the hotel at midday and walked around to see the show. The roads were slippery with ice, there were kids everywhere (the Mayor had ordered schools shut) and while the sun was out and melting the snow away, the eternal city looked like a white winter wonderland. The Spanish Steps were covered white as was the ‘barcaccia’ fountain. Piazza Venezia too, with all the trees starting to shed what looked like icing sugar! I got back to Trastevere and the cars parked along the street were completely covered.
I had a smile from ear to ear all day and so did so many people I saw as I walked the streets. The city unfortunately came to a standstill in terms of transport and other public services, the Colosseum, Vatican Museums closed and many public places closed and the slush & ice that will stay with us for days as the snow starts to melt and become a memory. A memory I won’t ever, ever forget.
Signing off from (a very white) Trastevere,
Ps: look up the hashtags #nevearoma2018 or #snowinrome across social media to see stories and images. And you can watch my live video on Facebook
Oliver Astrologo’s amazing aerial video can be viewed here: Facebook
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was a guest of StarHotels Hotel d’Inghilterra but nobody tells me what to write or publish. All thoughts expressed are my own.1