It’s been six years since the Vatican could participate in their yearly traditional snowball fight, but St. Peter’s Square was abuzz with life last week when Rome finally experienced an actual snowfall. Priests, nuns, and seminarians all took part in the festivities, with clerics and students from the Pontifical North American College and Venerable English College facing off against each other.

The snowy skirmish broke out with the classic landmark obelisk within the square as the dividing point between the two sides. The students all took part in their chants and anthems as they commenced with bombarding each other with snowballs.

Meanwhile, even the nuns scooped up the fresh snow and constructed tiny snowmen, eager to join in on the fun without resorting to the more “violent” snowball fights erupting nearby. It isn’t clear which side won, but it hardly mattered. For the priests and students this was simply an opportunity to get some fresh air and get away from the books.

As the Vatican took part in their “holy war,” tourists within the square took inspiration and were gliding about on the snow with skis, and children were sliding down freshly-coated steps using sleds. Despite many tourist attractions being shut down due to the inclement weather, some Romans and tourists took to the streets to photograph the historic city coated in white.

Rome only got about 1.5 inches of snow, but for the people of Rome it was the winter wonderland that they wanted — the first of its kind since February 2012! The snowfall was caused by the “beast from the east,” a cold blast that originated from Siberia and has been blowing through western Europe.

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