It's a long way from reconstructing Rome out of the rubble of World War II to earning a Masters in Architecture from New York's Columbia University.
It's further still to go from studying in New York to designing Parliament House in the heart of Canberra.
Romaldo Giurgola, who left us last month aged 95, made both those journeys, and many more.
The man universally known as "Aldo" said that his most important work should rise out of the Australian landscape, as true democracy rises from the state of things.
To visit his Parliament House (now that it's 28 years old, we can stop calling it "new") is to experience great design.
Aldo's story speaks of a maturing nation. In the past, Australia did not make the most of overseas talent. The story of Canberra designers Walter and Marion Griffin is one of angry architects and bruised bureaucrats. So too the tale of Sydney Opera House creator Jorn Utzon.
With Aldo, it was different. He worked carefully with the design team.
He fell in love with Canberra and settled here permanently after Parliament House was completed.
He made an enduring contribution to this city, which he loved for its unique relationship with nature. Like many Canberrans, he wasn't born here, but he made this city his home.
Aldo, thank you for everything. You will be missed.
Andrew Leigh is the shadow assistant treasurer and Member for Fraser.
This piece was originally published in The Chronicle.