Snow falls on sweltering Rome

Italians enjoy 'miracle' flurry

A Snowy Surprise in Hot Rome
Ever prayed for snow? For Romans sweltering in the heat of summer, it appeared their prayers were answered. Well, sort of.

It may have looked like a winter wonderland, but all was not what it seemed...

Snowfall covered Rome and left locals in awe on Wednesday, especially as just a few hours before they were attempting to withstand scorching heat hitting nearly 40 degrees.

Unfortunately, the snow was artificial and provided little respite.

Every year, on August 5, Italians celebrate the anniversary of the 'Miracle of Snow' which is said to have fallen on Rome in the year 358 AD.

Snowy ceremony

Legend goes that at that moment the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to Pope Liberius, telling him to build a church, or basilica, in the place where he would find snow the next day.

The church is now located in Rome's Esquilino district in her honour.

The event was recalled in a snowy ceremony at the piazza of Santa Maria Maggiore on Wednesday evening.

10 snow machines were used to generate the first flakes from the top of the basilica, accompanied by classical music, special effects of light and laser rays, and a performance by an 11-piece orchestra.

The August snowfall ceremony, dedicated to Pope Francis, has now become a traditional summer fixture in Rome.

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