The intense heat essentially stopped the snails in their tracks, as their feet scorched on the ground. “They stop and they die,” she said. Others sought shade under the terra cotta roof shingles she put in the greenhouse, but they also died. She doubted those who managed to bury themselves underground, where they often create a wall to keep them moist, survived. “It burned underground,” she said.
Her niece Viviana Pappalardo, 23, who also worked on the farm where they also grew oranges and grapes, said she was worried about the future.
“People don’t understand that the damage is everywhere,” she said, hoping that the extreme temperature in her city and the fact that “people can feel it on their skin” would serve as a wake-up call.
“All of us who work in this sector, in agriculture, understand this,” she said. “And we are the basis of everything. When you have a broad view, Europe is dying.
But that sense of urgency seemed to fade with the intense heat. On Thursday evening, the young people of Floridia were back at the local pub down the road from one of Sicily’s best snail restaurants, drinking beers. They raced their scooters on the streets and celebrated birthdays. The debilitating heat of the night before seemed to be another topic of conversation.