Born in 1889 into an aristocratic family in Florence, Italy, Ugo Mochi was a precocious child. By the age of six he was sketching his animals, cutting paper outlines of them and constructing miniature horse carts with matchbox carriages, toothpick axels, and cardboard cut wheels.
As the fourth of seven siblings, he enjoyed a home filled with joy, love, and music. His brothers played instruments and young Ugo would often sing. On Saturday nights, his parents and friends would present well-known plays to large gatherings at their home.
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By the time he was 8 years old, Mochi was studying drawing at the home of a painter. Two years later, he entered the Florence Academy of Fine Arts, founded in 1784, where he studied sculpture, anatomy, and drawing until the age of 15. In the Academy Gallery, a special room is set aside for viewing Michelangelo’s David.
Tragically, Mochi’s father was killed in 1903 and his mother died just 6 months later. The family was subsequently separated. Young Mochi was taken out of the Academy and placed in a graphic arts school in Florence. Later, his Uncle sent him to learn a trade at the Institute of Graphic Arts in Bergamo, near Milan. Lonely and unhappy, Mochi left for Milan where he opened a drafting studio earning enough to take formal voice lessons.