Wednesday, December 9, 2009


People walking by the stores on the Ponte Vecchio

The old cemetery at the church of Santa Maria Novella
where many Medicis are buried. We weren't allowed
to take photos inside the church which has incredible
frescoes by Ghirlandaio

A fruit market we passed walking to Santa Maria Novella

Yesterday Marina Abramovic won an award at the Biennale
and relayed her artistic manifesto to the admiring crowd. She
is a conceptual artist and filmaker. While she spoke I sat at
the free internet computers at the side of the theatre, answering
your comments. It was the first time I've been able to get on
the two computers available now for 650 artists, and it felt
like a conceptual art piece to be answering comments while
Abramovic spoke of the importance of supportive artist
friends. I am not spending too much time on the blog, and
I feel badly when I can't answer your comments. We were
coming to the internet place at night before supper, but
that meant we were extremely hungry when we went
for supper, after walking around all day.

So now we're starting the day with the blog, and as I sit
here the sun pours in from the little garden behind the
computer station store. I thought I'd tell you what I
had for dinner last night in the Napaloni, a wonderful
restaurant a few blocks from our apartment. By the
way everything that matters (almost) is a few blocks
from our house. So here's what I had. The server,
Elam became our friend the first time we ate there,
and she brought us celebratory glasses of prosecco.
Then instead of the white house wine I was given
a gorgeous Sauvignon Bianco. People don't worry about
glass size here, something I noticed in Europe the
last time I was here. The wine (both white and red)
is served in large, graceful glasses. My salad last
night was fresh artichoke, thinly sliced, lightly drizzled
with a dressing with a bit of lemon in it, with
parmiggiano cheese in wide thin slices covering the
artichoke. Then I had zucchini stuffed with a meat
filling mixed with cheese, tomato, and mushrooms.
(Mushrooms here are like nothing you've ever
tasted in North America -- they are beyond delicious).
For desert Steven had Tiramisu, (another surprise,
completely different than at home) and after I'd
eaten half of his Elam brought us a thin slice of the
most delicious dark chocolate cake I've ever eaten.
That was dinner!

We keep saying we'll cook in our apartment, and
so far have had exactly one dinner there. Silly
us. The Biennale continues to be amazing and

For those looking for the downside. Okay. I've
banged my head so many times in the laundry
room just under the roof, low, low ceilings with
huge beams, that it is more bump than brain,
but even so I am happy. What a hardship our
own laundry room with a modern, beautiful
Italian washing machine! There I hope that
makes you happy. Now it's time for lunch,
museums, markets, sitting the show, laughing
with friends, and dinner again. A very tough
life. I do this for you my dear artist friends.

Have a sunny-days-are-beautiful-in-Florence-and- everywhere day


eldon warren said...

Thank you so so much Barbara. What greater sacrifice can one make for her friends?! :) Kiddin aside, I think if anyone in the world deserves to be where you are and doing what you're doing it's you and Steve. Keep on keepin on!!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Barbara!!
We are awaiting a snow dump, the fireplaces are all roaring, I'm about to call Larry in from renoing the studio to feed him home made lasagna. We'll hoist a glass of red in your honour.
O.....I think that a trip to Florence is a must!! That food experience combined with the art etc...heavenly. Thanks so much for reporting on this.
I agree....keep on sacrificing!!!

Melinda said...

What a pleasure it is to hear of your adventure, all the details, except for the one about the head bumping! My head hurts in sympathy!!

Yes, you'll need some kind of medal for all of your sacrifice...

;) !!!!!

Missing you, but soooo happy you're having a blast.

Zina Chmielowski said...

Hi Barbara,
It's a real pleasure to read you blog.
Wonderful to hear from you everyday...
From post-snowy and rainy Toronto...

Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara,
So nice to pop in on your blog and find you in Florence, enjoying that beautiful city! Your paintings look fantastic all hanging together in the show, and the other artists pieces look great too. Wishing you all the best, and happy Christmas wishes to you in Italia.

Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!