You never know what’s around the corner. And, on the Italian island of Elba, there are plenty of corners.
Why Elba? Well, to paraphrase George Mallory when asked about his determination to climb Mount Everest… because it’s there. Top Gear has brought you dispatches from all parts of Italy, but we’ve never been here before. Technically, it’s part of the Tuscan archipelago, and lies 12 miles off the mainland port of Piombino in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Pretty much the only thing I know about the place - along with most of us, I suspect - is that Napoleon was exiled to Elba under the terms of the 1814 Treaty of Fontainebleau. He subsequently escaped, and was intercepted a few days later by a French regiment near Grenoble. “Here I am. Kill your Emperor, if you wish,” history records. They didn’t, but three months later came the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon was exiled again, this time to Saint Helena, an island more than 1,000 miles off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic. There was no legging it from there, and we thought it a bit far in a Ferrari.
Pictures: Justin Leighton
This feature was originally published in the May 2014 issue of Top Gear magazine