Rare snowfall in the Vatican and on St. Peter's Basilica

The rare snowfall disrupted the airlines.

Romans awoke Monday to a rare snowfall, after an Arctic storm dumped snow over much of Europe. Despite those impacts, the snow "brought excited young Romans out to play in the snow or walk in the slush", the AP said.

Of course, the city's local transportation suffered because of the snow.

This weekend, the ancient city experienced its first snowfall in six years (before that one, it had been 30 years) thanks to an unusual cold front from Siberia.

It's bitterly cold through much of Europe.

"The Beast from the East" is causing major travel disruption with delays and cancellations across railways and airports.

Amber and yellow warnings for snowfall have been issued by the Met Office through Thursday in parts of the United Kingdom, including London.

Snow, combined with strong winds, means "parts of the United Kingdom will feel as cold as the Arctic Circle", said Mitchell.

Meteorologists in Germany, meanwhile, reported a record low for this winter of -27 C (-16.6 F) on the Zugspitze mountain in the Alps.

Two people have died of the cold in Poland since Saturday, bringing the winter's toll to 48 since November, according to the center for national security. Along the Baltic coast in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern several cars crashed on icy streets, injuring at least four people. Moscow, as well, recorded its coldest night this winter, with the mercury dipping to almost -20 C (-4 F) on Sunday night.

Special cross-country skiing courses were set up in parks in Vienna as temperatures dropped to as low as minus 20 C across Austria. Average lows in February and March range from the middle teens to the low 20s in the city.

Rome's schools were ordered closed, while train, plane and bus services were crippled.

At the same meeting the department also made a decision to dispatch volunteers to help some travellers blocked at stations in the capital due to the bad weather. In Croatia, about 1000 soldiers joined in the clearing operations in the worst-affected areas, where over 1.5m were reported.