Williamstown’s Mario Del Grosso is pursuing his love of art later in life.

What’s your connection to Hobsons Bay?

I was born in Williamstown. My parents came from Italy in the early ’60s and settled in Williamstown. My mother was heavily pregnant when my parents were making the trip over from Italy, so I was conceived in Italia but born at Williamstown Hospital.

I grew up here and went to school locally. I went to St Mary’s Primary School and then St Paul’s College.

And I don’t take it for granted that I’ve been given an opportunity to study something I absolutely love as a mature-age student, which I think is something not to be taken lightly: to be able to resume studies after doing an apprenticeship at an earlier age and running my own business. Having the opportunity to resume studies is a luxury.

I’m 54 and I started on this journey of art studies when my son completed VCE and that was because, as a parent, I got some time back for myself and started channelling that into things I’ve always been passionate about and interested in. That was about five years ago.

What are you passionate about?

My passion has always been art and aesthetics.

I draw on inspiration from architecture, from the renaissance which evolved in Florence. I’ve been to Florence on three occasions and done courses in the renaissance.

And then I became a recipient of a scholarship program where I’ve just been trained and graduated a week ago at the National Gallery of Victory.

What are your hopes for the future?

I just want to continue at my point in life at the moment, when I have the time to channel into studying art. I want to continue on that journey at Melbourne Uni and make regular annual visits to different regions of Italy and focus on various aspects and movements in the art world.

What do you like about Williamstown?

Its close proximity to the city. The water is a beautiful vista as you visit the beach or along the marina. And its community feel.

What would you change?

I think it’s great to see new restaurants coming in to the area and lifting the level of food cuisine and service. I think it would be great to see us become what Yarraville offers now.

What’s your favourite eatery or cafe?

I’ve had a wonderful meal with my son recently at Mascalzone, a new Italian restaurant in Nelson Place. And my favourite cafe would be Jazz Cafe in Ferguson Street.

Both places offer lovely food and good service and are very attentive to your needs.