Life is sometimes stranger than fiction and this past weekend it seemed that many of my different lives came together in a strange union of coincidences. As I mentioned when I changed the theme on my blog some months ago, art and Italian art specifically, is one of the things that have been most central to my life and one of the main reasons I was drawn to living in Italy, specifically to Florence.
I will try not to make this too much of a mommy blog as the Italian Wine Guy would call it but once in a while, I too fall prey to this style of writing but I promise there is a point, a wine, a region and an exhibit to visit as well.
When I just out of college, I moved to Florence to become an art restorer. My mother is an art historian, an artist – a sculptor and a painter – and I believed that I too had artistic gifts. Unfortunately, artistic abilities are not necessarily part of your DNA just because your Mother is so talented she seems to be one of the “Old Masters.” Alas alack, my Mom is also of concert pianist talent but this too was not handed down through the genes.
Instead, I was lucky enough to develop a keen eye and a sensibility for art and culture fed on years of Museum going. Also, I do have funny stories about my time at Palazzo Spinelli in Borgo Santa Croce in Florence.
While the art restoration class didn’t work out, I did go back to school and get a Masters degree while in Italy at the SAIS which led to my journalism/communications career and many lifelong friendships as well as a great year in Bologna and one in Washington.
I saw my SAIS friends this weekend and marvel at how smart, successful and fun so many of them are today. I love when you see people after a long period of time and still find so much to talk about and share about what is happening in the world as well as our private lives, of course. I love the fact that we are still concerned with the same issues and still find the same things funny.
This weekend I also did some work for an Italian friend from Apulia whom I met when I was sailing in Sardinia and Corsica. He happens to work for Italian television and asked if I could do some translation work for the opening of an art exhibit in New York on the Movimento degli Arcani.
The exhibition of works by the five artists in the Movimento degli Arcani is being held for the next month in Manhattan at the Eden Art Gallery. I was drawn to many of the paintings in the exhibit for different reasons. If you are in New York City in the next month, you should stop by the gallery on Madison Avenue.
I have done much written translation from Italian to English in my life, some consecutive translations, much transactional work for companies during meetings and a simultaneous translation for a well known musician – Claudio Baglioni during his New York visit. Every experience is a humbling one and one where I realize the intricacies of language, sound and translation as a career. This one was difficult for other reasons but my artistic study in college, at home thanks to Mom, and throughout my museum visiting life was a help.
Wine helped too. Appropriately the wine was from Apulia. San Giorgio Arte and my friend the journalist both hail from Apulia, specifically the city of Bari. I have never visited Bari as a city but spent an unbelievable holiday in Apulia around that area some years ago.
This easy priced and cheerful expression of Negroamaro helped immensely. I have always liked Negroamaro as a grape. I find it earthy and spicy at the same time, generally more elegant than its bigger brother in Apulia – Primitivo. I also like Negroamaro when it is made into a rose’ such as that from Alberto Longo.
I have spent considerable time with a variety of producers from Apulia be it Apollonio or Vigne e Vini. I have always found that I enjoy the least alcoholic of all of their wines and prefer the more everyday wines to the more prestigious ones generally.
I also enjoyed meeting all of these people from Apulia – a region where hospitality knows no bounds and where the food is so delicious that I gained 6 pounds in 10 days – no mean feat. Not to mention the color of the water you can swim in…I could go on and on about Apulia but I’ll save it for another day.