The centriole organelle consists of microtubules (MTs) that exhibit a striking 9-fold radial symmetry. Centrioles play fundamental roles across eukaryotes, notably in cell signaling, motility and division. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and accompanying poster, we cover the cellular life cycle of this organelle - from assembly to disappearance - focusing on human centrioles. The journey begins at the end of mitosis when centriole pairs disengage and the newly formed centrioles mature to begin a new duplication cycle. Selection of a single site of procentriole emergence through focusing of polo-like kinase 4 (PLK4) and the resulting assembly of spindle assembly abnormal protein 6 (SAS-6) into a cartwheel element are evoked next. Subsequently, we cover the recruitment of peripheral components that include the pinhead structure, MTs and the MT-connecting A-C linker. The function of centrioles in recruiting pericentriolar material (PCM) and in forming the template of the axoneme are then introduced, followed by a mention of circumstances in which centrioles form de novo or are eliminated.