Finally legally separated from his wife Lia in 1970, Barnes produced a traveling show entitled "52 watercolors" which circulated across the United States. His divorce was finalized in '71 and by now he had been with the University long enough to take a paid sabbatical.
On June 10th 1972, Barnes was remarried to artist Nancy Morgan, whom he had met at I.U. and upon an invitation by Mario Roncaglia, an italian art dealer, the newly married couple went to live and work in Umbria, Italy during the two year sabbatical. This period became a great catalyst in Barnes' life and though financially restrained, the artist felt liberated and able to explore all that his newly adopted country had to offer. Barnes and Morgan immersed themselves in the culture and language befriending the locals. While on their stay they were able to scrape up enough money and seized an opportunity to buy a country house in the Umbrian mountains, which was in sore need of restoration. While this occurred Barnes, through Roncaglia, exhibited in Rome, 1973, and Turin, 1974.
After returning to Bloomington, from Italy, Barnes and Morgan gave birth to a daughter on August 8, 1974.
Barnes resumed his american lifestyle; teaching at I.U. and exhibiting frequently with Frumkin. He returned with his family, as often as possible, to Umbria in an effort to restore their house and rejoin his italian friends during summers. Barnes' work, which had always portrayed themes of great literature, poetry and mysticism, now also reflected his experiences in Italy, and incorporated as an autobiographical metaphor the italian adventures and writings of Byron, Shelley and Trelawney.
On January 1st 1979 Barnes' third daughter and fourth child was born in Bloomington, thus concluding the 70's decade.