In excitement after seeing Rome’s first snow in six years, priests and seminarians descended upon St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican to engage in the sacred winter tradition of a snowball fight.
The seminarians from Pontifical North American College and Venerable English College faced off on Monday morning, using the St. Peter’s Square obelisk as a border between the two teams.
While pelting each other with snowballs, the theology students sung out their national anthems. There is no word on which team won the battle.
Even the priests couldn’t resist joining the fight, bunching up some snow and whipping it across the Vatican.
Elsewhere in the square, tourists glided across the fresh snow on skis.
And nuns built snowmen.
The wintertime merriment spread to the city’s other historic monuments. Although major tourists attractions shut down because of the snow, some intrepid Romans and tourists ventured through the powder to photograph the historic buildings dusted in white.
At the Circus Maximus, children boarded toboggans (or makeshift toboggans fashioned from plastic bags) to slide down the snow covering the former Roman arena.
In total, Rome received about 1.5 inches of snow. The last time the city reported heavy snowfall was February 2012.
The rare meteorological phenomenon was caused by the “beast from the east,” a cold wind from Siberia that’s blowing across western Europe at the moment. Temperatures in Rome will warm through the week, reaching an expected high of 60 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday, according to Accuweather.