Heavy snow in Italy cuts off villages, disrupts flights

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 11, 2012 11:43 AM

ROME (Reuters) - Heavy snow fell across Italy on Saturday, blanketing the capital Rome, cutting off mountain villages and disrupting roads, railways and airports around the country.

The return within days of the heaviest snowfalls in Rome since the 1980s shut sites such as the Colosseum but gave tourists and residents another chance to see landmarks such as Saint Peter's Square and the Trevi fountain dusted with snow.

Rome's Fiumicino airport planned to cancel half of flights from 1600 GMT (11 a.m. EST) on Saturday, Italy's civil aviation authority Enac said in a statement. Several other airports across the country were closed or reducing operations.

Unusually heavy snow has been falling over much of Italy, causing disruption of train and road transport especially in mountainous regions where emergency services have been struggling to reach isolated villages.

On Saturday, buildings in several parts of the country were evacuated for fear that settled snow could cause them to collapse.

(Reporting by Catherine Hornby)