Rather than take the ferry back to Nice, we embarked on something of a mini European road trip. Departing Corsica from Bastia, we arrived in Livorno, on the west coast of Italy, and drove to Florence (which, by the way, has a perfectly nice-sounding name in Italian: Firenze).
We stayed at a campground outside Florence on our first night in Italy, and then spent the next day wandering around the historic city center. In the afternoon we visited the Museo Galileo (previously and functionally the Institute and Museum of the History of Science) to escape the heat. At too many museums I find my attention distracted by my aching feet, but here, even after walking around the city, I was transfixed by the exhibits, which span only two floors of a modest building. We spent several hours reading nearly every display, which were conveniently presented in both Italian and English. Not to mention the numerous video displays scattered throughout the museum, which animated many of the scientific artifacts, bringing an otherwise static exhibition to life. The experience transported me back to an age when telling time at night, drawing a precise map, designing a fortress, and navigating at sea were real, intractable problems.
We thought we might spend another day in Florence, and perhaps a day or two exploring the surrounding countryside (aka Tuscany), but on our second morning we received an email regarding a cheese factory tour in Parma happening the very next day. Parma was only 2-3 hours away, but if we wanted to make the tour at 8am without killing ourselves, we’d have to leave Florence that afternoon. We decided to go for it. So we packed up our tent and took an abbreviated driving tour of Tuscany—which consisted of a superb visit to a nearby Chianti winery and olive orchard. A hundred Euros of wine and olive oil later, we were on the autostrada hurtling towards Parma.