The snow began falling on Friday and continued throughout the weekend, leaving the highest slopes buried in several centimetres of snow.

As much as 27 centimetres was measured near Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomites, and 50 centimetres at Passo Stelvio in the Alps.

For now the snow has been confined to altitudes around 2000 metres or higher, while lower areas in the north have experienced a drastic drop in temperatures over the past week, along with heavy rainfall, strong winds and hail storms.

Some roads have been blocked by mudslides, while drivers in mountainous areas are advised to carry snow chains.

But meteorologists believe the sun will return this week, with temperatures in the high 20s forecast across northern Italy by Thursday.