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Winter travel hazards in Italy February 2012

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Freezing conditions, continued deep snowfall and rainstorms have disrupted travel throughout Italy, with the major impact being on Northern and Central Italy, but also Rome and Sicily. Some roads are closed to all but emergency traffic. Some passengers have been stranded on trains overnight in freezing conditions, although no one died and service has been restored.

In addition, hazardous walking conditions because of ice on stairs, steps and sidewalks is keeping most people indoors in a wide area of Northern Italy, including the Italian Riviera at sea level. The current forecast is for weather to remain below freezing into next week, with little chance of ice melting in many narrow streets whose surfaces barely receive sunshine in the low winter light.

Icy, slippery surfaces include church steps, historic ruins, hilltown staircases, pedestrian bridges, tiled or marble pavement and train staircases and platforms.

If you are presently in Italy moving about, or arriving shortly, you really need to be careful. Insist on adequate heat in your lodgings, as nighttime temps in many locations are headed well below freezing.

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