“My Dad was German, my Mum is from Italy. My dad passed away quite early, he had cancer, and I was suddenly responsible for my mum and my sister. I became the man of the house, everything I earned got put back into the house and my sister’s schooling. I had to grow up really fast but at the end of the day it shaped the person I am today and makes you appreciative of the small things in life. I take nothing for granted and even more so, I know how to say thank you.
I was a tiler; I had done mosaic school in Venice. I worked for the Vatican for four years. I even had a van with the number plate for the Vatican. My dad was a tiler, my brother was a tiler, I didn’t have a choice. We lived in Rimini, a tourist hotspot with 4000 hotels—there is plenty of tiling going on. I used to work with my dad until he got sick; he had a pretty big company, 40 people working for him, big government contracts.
In the winter season, we were flat out tiling there, but in the summers, there was nothing going on.
So, in summer I started working for nightclubs and was at some point the artistic director for the Baia Imperiale, one of the biggest nightclubs in Italy.
2007 the economy went very bad in Italy; all the big building sites shut down. I sold everything I could and with the last money I had I came to Australia. I had $1,000 in my suitcase and didn’t even know the language. The whole time at school I thought ‘why should I learn English? I know two languages already and I never want to go to England.’ I grew up bilingual, I spoke Italian and German and thought, I didn’t need English, why should I learn that. Off I went to Australia and the moment I arrived in Melbourne, I felt something about it. Like I arrived home; the liberty, the freedom, this good energy that was there.
It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Australia is the best country if something goes wrong and you need to start again. This is the place where you can do it, reinvent yourself, because they look after you here. The biggest fear is not being able to provide for the family. But so long the basics are there and you can provide for that, it makes you a really rich person in life. You need a driving engine, for me it’s my family. I met my wife, had my kids, have a beautiful life here and I’ve never been back to Italy in 13 years. Since I’ve put foot in Australia, I have never gone back. I love it in Australia.”