Snow Damages Historic Italian Landmarks [02-03-2012]
Heavy snow in recent weeks has already wreaked havoc across Europe - now it’s damaging some of the continent’s most famous historic monuments. Authorities in Rome were forced to close the Colosseum after small pieces of its walls crumbled due to freezing temperatures. Buildings in the historical walled town of Urbino - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - are also reported to be at risk of collapse under the weight of snow, after a series of unprecedented blizzards dumped more than 150 centimeters of snow in the area.

In the Italian capital, thousands of tourists have been disappointed to discover that the Colosseum, one of the city’s most popular attractions, is closed. Checks have been carried out to determine the extent of the damage. “Tests and evaluation of the damage is still ongoing,” said Rossella Rea, an archaeologist.
“[The snow] caused the detachment of dust, concrete, and bricks. If they fall from a certain height, they can be dangerous.” Although the Colosseum and The Ducal Palace in Urbino are 2000 and 500 years old respectively, these buildings are tenacious when it comes to adverse weather and other natural disasters, according to Gabriele Cavalera, a spokesperson for the local council in Urbino. “After all, the palace managed to resist collapse during the earthquakes of the 1990s and is so far holding out against the snow,” she said.