You’ve finally made it, after a breathless climb up the winding marble staircase, to the upper terrace of the Duomo di Milano — the famed Cathedral of Milan, Italy, and the fourth largest in the world. You flip through your guide book. A towering forest of ornate spires, the same ones that enchanted the literary likes of Mark Twain and Henry James? Check. The hundred gruesome gargoyles, staring down from their marble perches? Check. There is the precious white marble, quarried from Candoglia, and a view of the Italian Swiss Alps in the distance (amid the smog). And yet, if you happened to be one of thousands of tourists who visited the Duomo two months ago, there was also something out of place — a bit of modernity sticking out among the 14th-century Gothic masterpiece.
There, slinking across the cathedral’s steps and roof, were dozens of bright blue plastic snails.