Friends in Verona often assume that I'm used to the cold weather because I'm from Scotland.
But though it's certainly true that Scotland is currently experiencing some pretty extreme weather conditions, winter temperatures in Verona are actually lower than those in Edinburgh.
At least in Verona you don't have to contend with the wind and rain though!
And the long hot summers more than make up for the short, cold winters.
For the moment though, I'm just enjoying the snow!
Last Thursday while enjoying a quiet pint in my favourite Veronese watering hole (regular readers may be able to guess which one), I struck up a conversation with an agreeable young couple at the bar.
The bloke was from Holland, his little brother was playing against Italy for the Dutch under 15s (Partita tra Italia e Olanda under 15), while his partner was a well-travelled Liverpudlian.
After much convivial banter, they put me on the spot, asking me to recommend just one place they should visit during their short stay in Verona.
Like so many visitors I speak to, they were looking for somewhere authentic to enjoy the local wine and sample some regional specialities.
Well, there really could be only one answer.
La Antica Bottega del Vino.
One of the oldest and most prestigious bars in Verona, La Bottega has a mythical wine cellar, delightful service, stunning surroundings and a diverse clientele.
There's no need to burst the bank either. A decent glass of red and a tasty bite can be enjoyed for around €5.
So, if you only go to one bar during your stay in Verona, make it La Bottega.
Failing that, you'll always get a warm welcome at the Celtic Pub!
The front page of today's L'Arena, Verona's well-read daily newspaper, carries a stark warning about the Nigerian mafia currently operating in Verona. Quoting the Antimafia prosecutor, it describes the Nigerian criminal organization as aggressive and well-established, controlling both drug and prostitution rackets.
Also continuing to make headlines, the fallout from the brutal death of 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro, whose dismembered remains were found last week near Macerata, a small town in central Italy.
A Nigerian drug dealer has been arrested in connection with her death. Another has been arrested for supplying drugs to the young victim. The exact circumstances surrounding the death remain the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.
Following the arrest of the Nigerians, Luca Traini, a known extremist and candidate for the Lega Nord in recent local elections, in an apparent act of revenge, shot and wounded 6 African migrants in Macerata on Saturday evening.
The ongoing criminal investigation and subsequent legal proceedings into events in Macerata will continue to make headlines for months and, no doubt, years to come.
Meanwhile the migrant crisis, the tragic effects of which are visible on every street corner and outside every supermarket and market stall in Italy, remains impossible to avoid and is set to be the dominant issue in the forthcoming general election.
Seeking to exploit the fear of the migrant, Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's right wing Lega Nord, has said that "The moral responsibility of any episode of violence that happens in Italy belongs to those who have transformed Italy into a huge refugee camp." It is clear that he will continue to capitalize on events in Macerata in order to promote his own political agenda.
But now surely is not the time for political extremism.
Italy has known fascism and racial intolerance.
Moreover, Italy, with its long history of economic migration, understands better than most the grim plight of the impoverished immigrant. It too knows that criminal enterprises, prostitution, trafficking and drug-dealing, often operate at the margins of such destitute communities but that most migrants are honestly just seeking a better way of life for themselves and their families.
So, as the election in Italy on 4 March approaches, is it too much to ask that we respond to the serious issues currently facing Italian society with tolerance, reason and humility, rather than hatred, prejudice and fear?
That, I’m afraid to say, remains to be seen.