Born in Sesto San Giovanni, in the province of Milan, on 12 August 1831. From 1848 to 1855 he attended the Faculty of Law at the University of Pavia. At the same time, from 1848 to 1858, he was enrolled in the Pavia School of Painting, where he initially attended Cesare Ferreri's drawing and engraving courses, and then Giacomo Trecourt's painting courses. Here he frequents Giovanni Carnovali known as il Piccio and has Tranquillo Cremona as a fellow student. Expelled from school, he moved to Milan in 1856 and the following year to Rome. It is from this period that Cola di Rienzi contemplates its ruins from the heights of Rome (1855, the preparatory study is kept in the Civic Museums of Pavia), with which he makes his first appearance at the annual Brera Exhibition in 1856. In Rome, where he remained until 1858, he came into contact with Domenico Morelli, Bernardo Celentano, Francesco Saverio Altamura, strengthening his anti-academic choices for a painting based on chromatic values (Raphael and Fornarina). He is also attracted by the purist experiences of Adeodato Malatesta and the Russian Aleksandr Andreevič Ivanov, as revealed by the two versions of a Madonna and Child with San Giovannino (1857) and the altarpiece of the Immaculate Conception for the Cathedral of Pavia (1857). Returning to Pavia in 1858, he wins the Frank competition of the civic School of Painting with the large canvas. The model of the Pavia cathedral is presented to Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, bishop of Pavia, by three deputies of that factory. to have some subsidy in cash to give hand to the work, as in fact happened (Pavia, Musei Civici). Among the best works of the Sixties, we remember Romanza sul Ticino (1859) and Gondola by Tiziano (1861), both in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan, the two tondi with Still Life (1862), Door of the Alighieri house . Reminiscences of Florence (1859), exhibited at the Albertina Academy of Turin and in Brera, Blessed Bernardino da Feltre, tutor of the Monti di Pietà, during the famine, distributes to the poor some loaves given to him after the sermon (1861, Pavia, Santa Maria del Carmine), Battle of Varese (1859-1862, Pavia, Civic Museums). In 1861 he moved to Milan, where he obtained notable awards, including the appointment of honorary member of Brera in 1862, of the Academy of Modena in 1864, of the Institute of Fine Arts of the Marche, of the Society of etchers of Paris in 1865, the invitation of the Municipality of Pavia to be part of the commission for the Lauzi prize in 1863 and the success of the watercolors sent to the exhibition of the Society of watercolor painters in Brussels in 1864. He is present at the annual exhibitions in Milan and to the Promoters of Fine Arts of Turin and Naples. Among the works of this period are the love of the poet Sordello and Cunizza (1864, Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera), Cesare Borgia and Niccolò Machiavelli (1864, Pavia, Musei Civici), Gli scolari dell’Alciato (1864) , The reader or Clara (1865, Milan, Gallery of Modern Art), The lute player or Giada (1865), Egyptian sacrifice of a virgin on the Nile (1866, Rome, National Gallery of Modern Art). From 1865 he also began to devote himself to etching, translating some of his paintings and illustrating with four plates the edition of the Divine Comedy, commented by Niccolò Tommaseo and published in Milan by Francesco Pagnoni (The portrait of Dante and the verses Inf., I, 61-63, Inf., V, 31-33 and Inf., VII, 7-9). In 1865 he moved to Paris, where he obtained numerous awards: a personal exhibition was set up for him at the Cadart & Luquet gallery; the painting Borgia and Machiavelli was awarded the gold medal at the Salon of 1866 and again at the Universal Exposition of 1867 (third prize ex aequo with Eleuterio Pagliano), in which he participated with other works. Also for the 1866 Salon are the sketches for two unrealized paintings, Dante studies theology in Paris and Charles V in San Juste; Charles V and the Messalina orgies are from the following year. He returned to Italy in 1867, first in Sesto San Giovanni, then in Milan, and finally in Rome. Here he creates Serenata a Venezia, Convegno amoroso, L'assassinata (1867, Rome, National Gallery of Modern Art), a series of watercolors with Ciociaria, commoners, costumed figures - which he studies from life even with the photographic medium -, culminating in the Ciociari painting in St. Peter's Square (1868). This is followed by the Self-portrait (1867, Rome, Galleria dell’Accademia di San Luca), the Ciociara, the Youth of Lorenzo the Magnificent, the Procession of Sant'Anna at the Sant'Angelo bridge (both in Rome, National Gallery of Modern Art) and the latest etchings (Moribonda, Deposition, The compensation reserved by the society of artists, of which there are examples in Rome, National Gallery of Modern Art). He moves to Perugia, where he continues to paint. The sketches for the interior of the Sala del Cambio (1869) and the painting The Etruscans in Perugia (1869, Perugia, Giunta Regional Umbrian). He committed suicide on 15 December 1869 in Perugia.