When he was five he learned privately to read and write, using as texts the Bible, the Acts of the Martyrs and the Lives of the Saints. At seven he began to go to the state school in the city. A great passion for study and research soon made itself felt in the child. His mother would often take his books away from him, and in the evening, would put out the light and send him to bed. When he was eleven he went to the grammar school in Rovereto where he studied Latin, humanities and rhetoric.
A note which we read in his Diary is dated to this time: “…I began to impose on myself the rule of not wasting any time but to devote it totally on useful things. In this year also, or in the preceding one, I decided not to be inconstant in my reading.” He also decided always to make notes or write extracts from what he read. The books which he found in the valuable library of his father attracted him more than scholastic matters.
Antonio loved knowledge and study a lot, but a deep religious sensitivity grew at the same time; this inspired his choices and behaviour. He was open to friendship and every kind of good. Because of this, when he was only fifteen years old, he founded the Accademia Vannettiana, surrounding himself with friends of every social type in order to experience together study, charity and prayer.
He naturally saw his scholastic successes in perspective and did not like praise of the type: “Bravo Rosmini, with this step you will have the whole world speaking of you”.
In 1814, having completed grammar school, Pier Modesto and other parents agreed to form a small private school for the secondary studies of their children. They entrusted the teaching to the Roveretan priest, Pietro Orsi, who would always be Antonio’s friend and confidant. “The friendship which this teacher bore me” — he would write later — “encouraged me without limit; he made me love virtue, and everything beautiful, everything great, everything which is worthy of human beings.”
The excellent results which followed on his exams in the imperial lyceum of Trent, earned him inscription among the companions of the Accademia degli Agiati. Antonio, who did not like to be singled out, obtained the same privilege for his other companions.