Eugenio Federico Carlo Rossi was born in Johnstone, Renfrewshire in 1921. He was part of a large Italian community who had migrated to the area to provide services for industries such as coal mining, thread-making, cotton weaving, and engineering. Life in the Rossi household revolved around all things Italian. A precocious talent was evident from an early age, his family encouraged Rossi to follow his artistic path and he entered the Glasgow School of Art in 1938. During his time at art school, he became friends with Joan Eardley, Alfredo Avella, and Margo Sandeman. He was elected a member of The Royal Scottish Society of Painters Watercolour and the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts.