It doesn’t happen very often– and I swore I’d eternally regret missing when it next happened– snow in Rome. And, as lady luck would have it (ahem, Fortuna was the subject of my dissertation, so we go way back) it snowed today– the very day I took my students to the Roman Forum for the first time this semester. It couldn’t have worked out better for all of us.

The light snow grew worse- but we managed to see our Republican houses on the Palatine hill. Then, we barreled down to the Roman Forum, where I had obtained permission to view the Forum from the very center of the piazza (hint: the public is not allowed here). You might think it doesn’t make much difference, but I assure you it’s one thing to look onto the piazza and another to be standing in the center, looking out. All of a sudden, you realize how much space there is and you can appreciate, up close, a series of monuments and traces of monuments on the pavement.

The light snowfall/ slight rainfall suddenly blasted into a full blown snowstorm. Not only were we forced to leave the central piazza, the guards quickly forced the entire public from the site (I counted about 80 people). The shutdown was rapid for safety’s sake. Case in point, one custodian guard told me two tourists fell down by the Arch of Titus, and that was that. At least we’d all had our moment in the forum with the snow. It hadn’t snowed like that in 25 years. The students were excused from giving their site presentations (to be made up next week)– again, Fortuna favored the brave. And an hour later, we ran into each other by the Pantheon but the snow had already begun to melt in the steady drizzle of the light rain.

Take a look at Matt Mandich’s amazing slide show snow shots

These (below) are from my iPhone. Hand was freezing!