Aged 16 Thomas Cocke passed his A levels and won an open scholarship to
Pembroke College, Cambridge. With two years to wait before going up to
Cambridge he left Marlborough (where he was a scholar) and went on his
travels. After visiting the US, where he became an honorary member of a
Native American tribe, he went to Bologna to stay with an aunt, Kitsy
Colliva. She had married the city’s mayor in 1933 and remained in Italy
during the Second World War. There he learnt Italian and laid the
foundations of his lifelong interest in Italian art and architecture.