For, by paying a few hundred lire, I had become a snake-owner too. It was a fine grey animal over a yard long with clever little black eyes: very active, letting slip no chance of nipping my hand with its unarmed (I hoped) gums. But, when I reached Rome, and my destination on the Tiber island, it had vanished. It must have slid gently away to freedom in the tram between the city walls and the Piazza di Spagna. Perhaps, after a panic in the tram, it was put out of the way. But perhaps it is still rattling its way unobserved round the Seven Hills; or it may be curled up among the pillars of the Forum, or, best of all, basking sleepily on a warm and grassy ledge of the Colosseum, beyond the reach of all harm.
– Patrick Leigh Fermor. Words of Mercury. John Murray, 2003.
Foto from angolohermes.com