Leonardo, “L’Annunciazione” (ca. 1475) – Detail
Larry Alford, “Il TOLO è il nostro angelo!” (2001)
The blogger and his partner shared almost fifteen years of their lives with a wire fox terrier named Tolo. He was born in Scansano, Italy on 18 August 1997 and died in Gainesville, Florida on 5 April 2012. Although Tolo was many good things, the greatest of them was this: he was kind.
Presented to the Blogger and His Partner by the Artist
The blogger and his partner were invited to dinner at Gene and Beatrice Baldini’s house in Bivigliano, above Florence, on 29 October 1994. The evening proved to be decisive in their lives in ways they did not imagine. Among the other dinner guests were Lou Inturrisi (a writer for the New York Times), Preben Kristensen and Fiona Cameron (also journalists), and a few others whose names the blogger cannot recall at this date. (He does recall that Gene and Beatrice made rabbit with olives, which from that night became one of his favorite dishes.) During the course of the evening Lou, who lived in Rome, urged the blogger and his partner to move there. He had a friend with an apartment on Via di San Giovanni in Laterano with a view of the Colosseum to rent, so down to Rome they went the next weekend. Although it was early November, the weather was glorious–and Lou was born to share the city. The rest, as it is said, is history: the blogger and his partner moved into Lou’s friend’s apartment in the Eternal City in July 1995 and stayed there until March 1998. They bought a house in the Maremma in 1997–the year in which Lou was murdered in his apartment. The crime happened when the blogger and his partner were visiting their families in the US, and they learned of it when the wife of the architect they had hired to restore their house in the Maremma called them in Pasadena. They had not been seeing as much of Lou as they had during their first months in Rome, alas, but his death was a genuine blow to them–because it was a loss, because it was horrible, and because it brought to light aspects of Lou’s life about which they had known nothing. Princess Diana died the same month as Lou, and it was a peculiar experience for the blogger and his partner to be interviewed by two carabinieri in connection with Lou’s case upon their return to Rome while her funeral was being televised. Lou’s murderer was never found, though the carabinieri believed he was probably a hustler because a few other gay men in the city had been murdered under similar circumstances.