A surprise storm blanketed the historic center of Venice and surrounding islands with three to four inches of snow yesterday. Snow in Venice is a pretty unusual thing. I've never been lucky enough to see it myself. I would love to photograph it.
The canals did not freeze up, though. That's a truly rare occurrence these days. I was corresponding with some Venetians a couple days ago on the italia.venezia.discussioni newsgroup who said that there are some famous pictures of a 1927 freeze-up. And according to the The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Sun by Kenneth R. Lang, during Europe's "Little Ice Age" which lasted from 1400 to 1800, "Venice's canals regularly froze over" (this sounds a little overstated). According to famed historian Will Durant, the winter of 1708-1709 was one of Europe's worst in centuries and froze the laguna solid. I know I have heard about skating on the canals, but can't seem to find a source.