When we were in Rome two winters ago, I asked if it might snow. “No,” everyone said. “Nevica a ogni morte di papa.” Literally, it snows “every death of the pope” (every time a pope dies) or once in a blue moon. Although the Pope remains alive and well, Rome saw its first nevicata (snowfall) in decades in 2010, but that was nothing compared to this year’s tempesta di neve (snow storm).
With almost sixteen inches of snow falling in the outskirts of Rome and more than nine feet in nearby regions last week, the result was “caos neve” (snow chaos), as these headlines reported:
• Traffico in tilt sulle autostrade (Traffic gridlocked on the highways)
• Roma totalmente paralizzata (Rome totally paralyzed)
• Interi paesi senza acqua ed elettricità (Entire towns without water and electricity)
• Aeroporti e autostrade chiusi (Airports and highways closed)
• Treni bloccati per ore (Trains blocked for hours)
• Persone morte per il freddo o per incidenti (People dead from the cold or in accidents)
• Disagi, situazioni di emergenza e tanta rabbia dei cittadini, costretti a trascorrere ore in auto o in stazione, in attesa di poter raggiungere casa (Inconvenience, emergency conditions and so much anger from citizens forced to pass hours in their cars or in stations waiting to be able to reach home)
Italian weather forecasters are warning, “L'ondata di freddo non è finita.” (The cold wave isn’t over.) The coming days are expected to bring ghiaccio e neve (ice and snow) to all of Italy. “Hai vinto, neve!” (You’ve won, snow), an Italian posted on Facebook. “Ci arrendiamo!” (We surrender).
The youngsters in the photo above don't seem to mind the snowy weather (tempo nevoso). When snowed in (bloccata dalla neve), you might as well put on your snowboots (stivali da neve) and throw snowballs (lanciare palle di neve or giocare a palle di neve) -- or maybe make a snowman (un pupazzo di neve).
Even some grown-ups are savoring Rome's transformation. "Mi vergogno a dire che questi giornate per me sono state splendide" (I am embarassed to say that these days for me have been splendid), a friend writes, "un silenzio incantato, il panorama magico e bianco dalle finestre, il piacere di stare in casa davanti al camino, con un buon vino--bellissimo!" (an enchanting silence, a magical and white view from the windows, the pleasure of being at home in front of the fireplace, with a good wine). Bellissimo indeed!
Words and Expressions
bufera or tormenta di neve -- blizzard
fiocco di neve –- snowflake
nevoso, di neve -– snowy
spalare la neve –- shovel snow
spazzaneve –- snow plow
Biancaneve e i setti nani –- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Dianne Hales is the author of LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language.