Born in Rome on 29 July 1958 and married to Paola Carcaterra, he lived in Brussels until the age of 15, completing elementary and lower secondary education in Uccle, and followed the scientific stream in his upper secondary studies.
Received a degree in Letters from Rome’s La Sapienza University with a thesis on economic history in 1984.
He joined the Community of Sant'Egidio in 1975 and became involved in its activities to bring education to under-privileged children in the outskirts of Rome.
In the mid-1980s he worked in support of inter-faith dialogue, particularly with the Muslim world, and has participated in the organisation of annual international Prayer for Peace meetings since the first one was held in Assisi in 1986.
He has been involved in developing the Community of Sant’Egidio in Africa since 1989.
In charge of the Community’s international relations and peace mediation activities since the early 1990s, he was appointed Head of International Relations in 1998 and has been involved in various mediation processes: Algeria (1994-95), Kosovo (1998-99), DRC and Burundi (2000), Ivory Coast (2002-2011), Liberia (2004-05), Togo (2003), Darfur (since 2004), North Uganda (2006-08), Guinea (2007-11), Niger (2011), Libya (2011), Syria (2012) and Casamance – Senegal (2012).
Received the Fondation Chirac Award for Conflict Preventive in 2010.
Was Advisor to the Minister for International Cooperation and Integration in 2012, and organised the International Cooperation Forum in Milan that led Italy to reinvest in the Sahel region and outline the institutional future of cooperation.
Was appointed Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs on 3 May 2013 with the Letta government, holding the remit for the countries of Latin and Central America and Southern Africa of the SADC, and promotion of the Italian language and culture.
He reinvigorated the political, commercial and cultural relations with Latin America by organising the 6th Italy-Latin America Conference and by proposing the launch of the "Year of Italy in Latin America" initiative.
In promoting the Italian language and culture, he established the Famous Alumni Directory for former students of Italian language schools and institutes abroad, with the aim of establishing stable contacts with foreign Italian speakers.
On 28 February 2014 he was confirmed in his position by the Government led by Matteo Renzi, being in charge of maintaining relations with Central and Latin America and of promoting the Italian language and culture. He was subsequently delegated additional powers for Italian citizens residing abroad and Italy's relations with Canada.
On 29 January 2016 the Government led by Matteo Renzi appointed him Deputy Foreign Minister with International Cooperation portfolio