Snow, rain and high winds hit road, rail and ferry links in Italy with the center and north most affected Monday. Train traffic was disrupted in Piedmont because of snow and rain, while there was a risk of avalanches in Trentino, 150km winds near La Spezia, and ferry links suspended to and from many islands. Rivers were also being watched for the risk of breaking their banks. One river, the Entella, did break its banks near Chiavari in Liguria because of the high levels of its tributaries. "The situation is more critical in Liguria and Piedmont," said rail network company RFI. It said rail traffic would remain suspended until 06:00 Tuesday in Piedmont and Liguria, while the situation was also "highly critical" in Emilia Romagna and Tuscany. Schools were closed Monday in some parts of northern Italy. In the northern Piedmont city of Alessandria and the surrounding area, schools were ordered closed because of ice and snow. Schools were also closed in Liguria to the south. In Genoa, however, the situation was not so bad and schools were allowed to stay open - although some parents kept their children at home. Schools will, however, be closed for a second day tomorrow in Marina di Massa and the Lunigiana area of northern coastal Tuscany. Near the Ligurian seaside resort of Sanremo, several families were evacuated because of the risk of an avalanche or a mudslide. In the Ligurian valley of Val D'Aveto, gales measuring 165 km/h swept down tree branches. A car that skidded off the road and into a stream in the Apennine foothills near Bologna was recovered by divers late Monday afternoon. No one was hurt. In Veneto to the northeast, many mountain passes were closed because of the risk of avalanches. In Val d'Aosta to the far northwest, Christmas markets were closed Monday and will reopen Tuesday. In the northern Aosta ski resort town of Courmayeur, two buildings were evacuated because of the impending threat of avalanches. Road advice agency Viabilitia Italia said they were warning drivers not to embark on trips into Switzerland. In Tuscany, a "prolonged" red alert over ice and snow was issued. Most flights out of Florence Airport were canceled because of high winds. In Marche, strong winds and icy gales blew trees and branches onto roads but no one was hurt. In Rome, trees and branches also fell down and the fire brigade was called in to make 130 interventions. In Trieste, in far northeastern Italy, a wall collapsed, crushing cars, but no one was hurt. There were flooding and damage to electrical power networks in southern Campania and near Isernia. "The situation is complicated, patience is needed," said Transport Minister Graziano Delrio. Delrio spoke of the risk of ice forming on rail transport wires and lines, stopping traffic. "New technologies always improve the performance of the lines and the tracks," he said. "Therefore, it is clear that with new technologies and more investments they are making in in modernization, it will be increasingly easy to tackle this problem," said the transport minister. "The investments of (rail network company) RFI in the last three years amount o around 30 billion euros which we have at our disposal. "Over the previous three years they were six billion, and this shows the effort they are making to modernize the network, a very important effort," said Delrio.