The ‘Beast from the East’ just coated Rome in snow.

A brutal cold snap has dug its claws deep into Europe, with icy winds from Siberia blowing across the continent. The “Beast from the East” dropped a rare two to four inches of snow on the Eternal City on Monday.

On Monday morning, temperatures were running as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit below normal in Italy for this time of year. The combined cold and snow shut down schools and kept roads all but empty. Smart cars and Vespa scooters were coated in two to three inches of snow. From the Colosseum to Fori Imperiali, historic landmarks were painted white. Police advised people to stay home if possible, but many Italians braved the cold to enjoy the somewhat rare snow.

Students at American College and British College, both near the Vatican, took advantage of the snow day by staging a snowball fight in St. Peter’s Square. It snows in Rome only every few years. It was quick to turn to slush as the morning wore on and temperatures climbed to around 40 degrees.

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