Born and raised in a working-class Italian family, Romano was the only member of his lineage to attend university—first for engineering and then the arts. He was honored with The Yves Montand Best Actor Award at the 1998 Kiev International Film Festival. Subsequently he was nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Dramatic Role at the 1999 Gemini Awards and the 2000 Gala Metro Star Awards. Other nominations include the 2006 ACTRA Award for a supporting role and the 2007 Minesota SMMASH Film Festival's Best Male Actor.
Romano's theatre training began in Montreal at a workshop with Joe Dowling, Artistic Director of the Guthrie and formerly of the Abbey Theatre. Upon completion he moved to New York City to further his studies. He became a bike messenger, construction worker and a bartender. He trained at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, attended workshops with Ron Stetson in the Sanford Meisner Technique and a workshop with Group Theatre alumni Bobby Lewis and held a three-year tenure at the Stella Adler Theatre Conservatory.