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In the summer of 1704, Antonio Vallisneri (1661-1730), the most pre-eminent Italian physician and natural philosopher of his time, traveled with a "daring soul" and "trembling feet" across the "silent horrors" of the northern Apennines; he journeyed down the hills south of Reggio Emilia to northern Tuscany and the western edge of his native land, the province of Garfagnana. He then wrote a report of this adventure, the 'Primi Itineris per Montes Specimen Physico-Medicum' (Physico-medical example of a first journey through the mountains), and sent it to the Royal Society of London, hoping for its publication in 'Philosophical Transactions'. Unfortunately this did not happen and the manuscript disappeared from sight. The original draft, however, survived in the State Archive of the Italian city of Reggio Emilia where it was rediscovered in 2009. With its exceptional array of geological, medical, geographical, technical, ethnographic, and historical data, the 'Primi Itineris Specimen' is one of the earliest and most well-documented attempts to define a systematic approach to field research. Its frantically reworked pages and anxious marginal notes offer a new and valuable opportunity to understand why and how experimental data and theories in the early modern period interacted with and shaped the development of many crucial debates. These include the discovering of deep-time, the comprehension of geological phenomena (such as the hydrologic cycle and the origin of mountains and fossils), the perception of man's place in nature, the constant search for new therapeutics, the tormented and charming relation between science and religion.