Florence is home to many expats: those who have longed to live here, those who have found love and moved here, and those who have come to Florence and felt immediately at home here. Many people arrive here at a point in their lives when they seek to redefine themselves: whether they were not completely happy, were searching for something new, or were looking for love, it seems that those who come to Florence are reborn. Florence will always be the ‘cradle of the Renaissance' for the art world, but it also welcomes people of all walks of life who are seeking to follow their hearts.
Rocky Ruggiero has always lived among Italians. He grew up in an Italian-American community in Providence, Rhode Island. When he moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, to study at Holy Cross College, he was unable to choose between art history and medicine, so he studied both. But the opportunity to study in Florence for his junior year tilted the scale: he ended up majoring in art history and taking a minor in pre-med. After graduating, he attended Syracuse University's graduate program in Florence to study fine art. He studied Renaissance art, his first love, as well as Italian metaphysical art. Art history came very naturally to Rocky, who claimed, ‘It didn't seem like work; it was all pleasure.'