Saturday, February 4

The (snow) Fall of Rome

This week, hysterical reports from weathermen in rapture finally got their day in the sun, or in this case, the rain.  The pouring rain.  Taking their clue from the terrorize-your-viewers-24/7 meme of U.S. media, we were told (incessantly), that the mamma of all Siberian snowstorms was coming to Bella Roma, and we all better watch out.  Instead of preparing for the worst, with snowplows on call, and salt trucks filled to the ready, what we got instead was a pre-emptive strike against mother nature.  And anyone who's from the USA knows how well pre-emptive strikes work in our favor.
So as not to be caught like more than a few Detroit mayors with residents stuck in chain car collisions and buses stuck tire-deep in snow drifts, Rome's Mayor decided he could best deal with the concept of an impending snowstorm by just not allowing anyone to go out in it.  So, as the rain beat down for the better part of a day, school children were stuck pressing their noses disappointedly against house windows, hoping, praying, that the snow they expected and which granted them a grace day of no school, would actually fall.  It didn't. Or rather, where I live (right in Rome), it rained.  Just inside the city walls, it slushed.  Restaurants and shops closed their doors, and I found myself wheeling around town, thrilled to be the only car on the very wet Roman roads.
Attending a stupendous Happy Hour for the American-International Club of Rome at Piazza Farnese's Camponeschi Wine Bar, only a handful of the bold & the brave came in from the cold to be served food to the gills that had been prepared for dozens and dozens more.  Turns out, we were Germans, Dutch, French and Americans (Northerners only).  We laughed at our plight of having to trudge through 3 centimeters of slush to get to our cars which seemed like sitting ducks in large puddles.  
I zoomed off to the airport in record time.  Rome's Mayor not only had closed the schools, but shut down all public transportation, and, unfortunately for my brother-in-law, all the taxis in town decided not to take advantage of a golden opportunity and went home clearly to drink hot cioccolato instead. 
sledding in the Circus Maximus
After picking him up around midnight, the snow did, indeed, finally start to fall.  So we drove all around Rome watching it get blanketed in a beautiful white mantle.  I was here during the huge storm of 1986 and knew that this may be our only chance out the door to see Rome snowed under.
Whoever said that Italians don't plan ahead?  The next morning, we awoke to a beautiful city, shut to a screeching halt except the clean-up crews busying themselves with shoveling and removing all the downed branches from the umbrella pines.  Too bad for our prescient Mayor, he was a day late, and, considering the cost of the shutdown from the day before, well more than a dollar short.

2 comments:

Tiffany Parks said...

So strange! It was coming down hard in Trastevere from noon onward, and it took my sister-in-law three hours to get from there to Via Boccea after work. Another poor friend's 20 minute commute on the GRA took 9 hours! The situation must have been drastically different in different parts of the city.
I'm generally not one to stick up for Italian politicians (EVER!) but I'm guessing Alemanno would have been criticized much more harshly had he NOT closed the schools, especially in light of the flooding disasters earlier this winter. This city is woefully unprepared for snow!

Francesca Maggi said...

Well, he's getting a lot of heat right now from the press as well! And, schools are closed in the provinces (neptune, anzio, pomezia) in anticipation of a snowstorm that my iPhone hasn't heard about yet!