Having managed to get my new emergency passport this afternoon, I had no reason to hang around in Rome any longer (nor anywhere to stay in Rome); so I continued on to my next destination: Pisa. The train to Pisa was an easy three hours, with a change in Florence: I got the high-speed "EuroStar Italia" from Rome to Florence, which was nice but absolutely packed — I can see why they have compulsory reservations on the EuroStar trains. From Florence, it was just an all-stops local train to Pisa Centrale — I pulled in there at about 8:30pm. And when I arrived, I found the famous city to be completely enveloped in a thick fog. Not to worry: the fog didn't stop me finding my bed for the night; and it had all cleared up by the next morning.
Yesterday I ascended and skirted the eastern edge of Mt. Etna, from the south-east corner northwards. This morning, the tour of Etna came to a close, as I headed down out of the foothills, and returned back to the Sicilian east coast. Sadly, there was no view of Etna to speak of, as the fog that I encountered while camping last night was still lingering and obscuring the view; nevertheless, it was a sweet and speedy downhill ride, and the villages along the way weren't bad either. From Camping Mareneve, I continued up to the town of Milo (only about 5 minutes further along the road); and once I was through Milo, the looong downhill began. I took the small turnoff for the village of Presa; and from there the road took me ever further down, to the town of Piedmonte Etneo, and then finally to the coastal town of Fiumefreddo di Sicilia. It was a bit cold, and a bit foggy; but very quick, and easy as can be.
It was a grinding afternoon's ride, as I continued north and ascended higher up the eastern slopes of Mt. Etna. However, fortunately it wasn't an overly late one today. At around 4:15pm, I was just approaching the town of Milo — which is in the heart of the forested wilderness area around here — when I came across the campsite "Mareneve" (lit: "Sea and Snow"). My map had a single official campsite marked in the vicinity of Milo; so I assumed that this was it, and I stopped in to check it out. As with the place near Avola three nights back, I was most relieved to find that this place was actually open for business. As confucius says: "man who camp rough sleep with the cows, but man who camp legally sleep with the stars." So, since I had the opportunity, tonight I slept with the stars.