Cosimo was born in a small town on Como lake in the north of Italy. He studied physics in Milan and in Pavia. He later moved to Innsbruck, in the middle of the Alps, to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical quantum physics (and, admittedly, to ski a great deal). There, he studied quantum effects arising in the dynamics of magnetically levitated nanomagnets. He finally crossed the Alps and arrived in Munich to do a Post-doc at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, where he got interested in collective effects in many-body quantum optical systems. He joined Columbia to explore emerging phenomena in systems of many interacting atoms and to investigate optomechanical effects in subwavelength atomic arrays.