The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - January 26

Italy's cold snap bit deeper on Wednesday as ice gripped the Italian boot from top to toe and snow fell as far south as Sicily. Icicles hung from historic statues in art cities - the only figures standing still as Italians scrambled to get indoors. Venice became the latest victim of the fierce cold as parts of its lagoon began icing over for the first time in ten years.

Ice crept over canals south of the city proper, making a picturesque effect but not thickening enough to hamper barges or boats. Weathermen said temperatures had fallen to -6 degrees Celsius. The last time the Venice lagoon was hit by ice flows was in 1996. The whole lagoon was covered by ice in 1709. Skaters took to the canals and the fairyland scene was immortalised by artists.

Elsewhere, the mercury plunged as far as 30 degrees below zero in the Dolomites and snow even fell on the mountains near Palermo. The cold snap is expected to last at least another week.