Submarine surfaces near Duomo

Shoppers in Milan were astounded on 1 October when a Russian submarine appeared to have surfaced just metres from the city’s iconic Duomo, damaging a passing car.

The commander gave an interview to a TV news crew, speaking in a strong Russian accent and assuring the public he, too, was baffled, but was a great admirer of Italy. He was interrupted by the irate driver of the damaged car.

Although some children appeared to be totally taken in by the stunt, most passers-by were amused and delighted by the imaginative advertising for a well-known insurance company.

Alberto Agnelli, marketing manager for the insurer, told a local newspaper it was what is known in the trade as a “wow experience”, involving people in the event and broadcasting the message on social media. He said the YouTube video was the most tweeted subject in Italy that day, even overtaking Pope Francis. “And it cost less than a poster campaign, he added.

Edoardo Lugari, director of the stunt, told the newspaper, “We’ve been working on this since July. Milan is a great city for hosting an event like this.”