I was born in Rovigo, a small town in the countryside of Northeast Italy. It is located just 40 km south of the better known city of Padova. The latter is famous for its old University, where Galileo Galilei taught for several years, and its artistic buildings, e.g. Cappella Scrovegni and Palazzo della Ragione.
By living in the countryside I was lucky to enjoy a clear night sky, which inevitably made me fall in love with Astronomy. When I was a kid I used my first savings to buy a telescope. I spent freezing winter nights outside looking at the stars, the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn, with my small telescope, self-learning about constellations and their main stars. However I never thought I was going to be an astronomer. Indeed I also had a passion for Arts (not a surprise being Italian!) and I would have loved to study Architecture. It was only during the last two years of high school that I convinced myself I wanted to become a scientist. What made me change my mind? Two amazing and passionate teachers of Physics and Math: Elisabetta Lorenzetti and Sandra Berneccoli!
So, after the school, I got a Master Degree in Physics at the University of Padova. When I started the University I was not sure what kind of scientist I wanted to be: a particle physicist was one option, after (guess what?!) an inspiring trip to CERN. But in the end my old passion for the night sky took over and I moved to the lovely town of Trieste to do a PhD in Astrophysics at the International School for Advanced Studies (ISAS/SISSA). That was the beginning of a long journey into the world of Astronomical research that, in the end, led me to Cardiff where I am a now a Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics at the Cardiff University School of Physics and Astronomy.
Cardiff is a perfect place for me to live: it is not a big city (slightly smaller than Florence) so you can visit it without the need of a car and it is surrounded by a stunning countryside which reminds me of my hometown. And it also has a beautiful park (the Bute park) with a castle, which I walk by every morning to go to work.
Other than Astronomy, I like to collect stuff (I am a bit of a hoarder…). I collect in particular minerals and rocks and antiques (mainly Grand Tour objects and original Piranesi etchings from the 18th century).