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Fact Check: Video Shows Cat Strolling in Snow-Covered Florence, Italy?

X user @Rainmaker1973
X user @Rainmaker1973

Claim:

A video shared on social media in November 2023 showed a cat strolling in snow-covered Florence, Italy.

Rating:

Rating: Miscaptioned
Rating: Miscaptioned

"Weather forecast say snow is expected on Tuscany in these hours. This is what Florence looks like with the snow," a Nov. 26, 2023, post from @rainmaker1973 on X (formerly Twitter) read, purportedly showing a cat strolling on a building ledge in a snow-covered Florence, Italy.

"Cat's not leaving footprints in the snow," one X user commented and tagged us, claiming it was an "obvious fake."

The post also redirected to another video with a different caption: "Florence in winter. A cat in a red knit walks along the railing of a B&B terrace near the cathedral and Giotto's bell tower. Looks like he's worried about the sky." (We translated it from Japanese using Google Translate.)

The @rainmaker1973 video of a strolling cat was authentic but was originally posted more than a year earlier, in January 2022, by the @panigattidelgolfo Instagram account dedicated to two Bengal cats. La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, even published an article in February 2022 about the same cat visible in the in-question video, with the title, "La Spezia, Leo and Felicien, the social media famous cats discovering Italy."

To investigate whether the video actually showed "what Florence looked like with the snow," we examined the white-colored elements visible in the footage. We noticed that a key building in the recording was the Baptistery of St. John in Florence, Italy. However, as Google Maps indicated, its roof is off-white in color.

(Instagram account @panigattidelgolfo and Google Maps)

In the viral recording, that off-white coloration appears to have been enhanced with the use of an Instagram filter (likely "Gingham") to appear snow-white.

(Instagram account @panigattidelgolfo)

Moreover, the @panigattidelgolfo Instagram account published a picture of the same scene with the caption, “Cat with a view,” showing that off-white building coloration.

In other words, it became evident the surface the cat was sitting on was not covered in snow but was the building's off-white color.

(Instagram account @panigattidelgolfo)

In sum, the video seemed to show a snow-covered Florence because of the accompanying social chatter and a filter applied to whiten the roof's color, but there was no snow. We therefore have rated this claim as Miscaptioned.

Sources:

Battistero Di San Giovanni | The Opera Del Duomo of Florence. https://duomo.firenze.it/en/discover/baptistry. Accessed 27 Nov. 2023.

“La Spezia, Leo e Felicien, i gatti star dei social alla scoperta dell’Italia.” la Repubblica, 2 Feb. 2022, https://genova.repubblica.it/cronaca/2022/02/02/news/la_spezia_leo_e_felicien_i_gatti_star_dei_social_alla_scoperta_dell_italia-336123100/.