Rare snowfall blankets locked-down Milan

MILAN (Reuters) - Milan woke up to a thick blanket of snow on Monday, thrilling children but disrupting anyone trying to get back to work after the strict Christmas lockdown.

Masked city workers were out at dawn shovelling about 15 cm of snow off the central Piazza Duomo, as the sparse morning traffic struggled on slippery roads.

Several trees and marquees outside bars collapsed under the weight, a rare sight in a city that typically gets just a dusting of snow in the coldest of years.

A pole supporting overhead tram lines fell on one woman, leaving her with head injuries, news agency Ansa reported.

The city’s transport chief Marco Granelli said the priority for the authorities was removing fallen trees and clearing the entrances to hospitals, health facilities and coronavirus-testing points.

The lockdown that kept Italians largely in their homes from Dec. 24-27 was eased on Monday, allowing people to move around freely within their towns even while most services remain shut or severely limited.

Heavy snow was widespread over much of northern Italy, causing train cancellations and the closure of mountain roads in the Veneto region.

Reporting by Elisa Anzolin, editing by Gavin Jones and Andrew Heavens