He owes his love for music to his violinist father Giovanni Battista who played for some years in the chapel of San Marco; he seems to have been a pupil of the musician Giovanni Legrenzi.
Due to his poor health, he approached the church and was ordained a priest in 1703 and soon became a violin and composition teacher at the women's conservatory of the Pio Ospedale della Pietà. It was precisely in this school intended for orphaned or abandoned girls, one of the four most famous in Venice, that he made his main sacred and sung music and his main concerts and assumed, over the years, the role of concert master and teacher of chorus. He will also have contributed the skill of their great masters but certainly the singing and musical skills of these girls, together with the dedication and perseverance, allowed them to be known throughout Europe.
Vivaldi soon abandoned his clerical robes to devote himself fully and completely to music giving it an unparalleled splendor, taking it from a typically baroque "terraced" architectural style to an impressionistic one rich in alternating sounds but with an amazing instinct for balance and harmonic fluidity .
In 1705 he wrote his first collection of Twelve three sonatas op. 1 and three years later he began performing in the Sant’Angelo theater in Venice, as first violin. His fame soon spread abroad, in particular in Prague, Amsterdam and Vienna and it was in the Dutch capital that in 1711 he published the collection of twelve violin concertos "L'estro armonico, op. 3 "; part of this work was transcribed by Johann Sebastian Bach for keyboards. In 1713 Vivaldi took over the direction of the Sant’Angelo theater and in Vicenza he staged his first opera, the Ottone in Villa through which he began to be appreciated by the public as well.
The pinnacle of his notoriety came during one of his returns to Venice where he managed to devote himself to opera and publish the concert collection called Il Cimento dell’Armonia e dell 'Invention, which includes: The Four Seasons.
Ten years of travel followed, during which Vivaldi went to Mantua for three years where Mr. Prince Philip Langravius of Hesse-Darmstadt, in Milan, in Rome (where he even played for the pope) and in the Austrian capital where he performed for Emperor Charles VI and dedicated the op. 10, “La Cetra“.
Finally, in 1740 he left Venice and arrived in Vienna, where, a year later, he died there in solitude and poverty.
Vivaldi's production turns out to be extraordinarily wide and dotted with solo concerts, many of which for violins, concerts with two or three solo instruments with orchestra, string orchestra concerts, chamber concerts but also produced secular vocal music and sacred production. . History shows that Venice, his hometown, at the time failed to recognize the innovative impulse of this violinist-composer, perhaps his conservative environment was not ready to welcome this musical revolution of his.
The National University Library of Turin preserves two important collections of original Vivaldi manuscripts (27 volumes), many of which were autographed by the great composer: the Mauro Foà Collection, which came to the library in 1927 and the Renzo Giordani Collection, which arrived in 1930. On the Cultural Internet site, it is possible to access the online catalog and see the digitized Vivaldi manuscripts.