Born in Florence in 1931, he studied in the United States from 1957 to 1959 with Fulbright and Stringer scholarships and then worked for the IMF, where he became responsible for African Affairs in 1975. In 1976 he was put forward by the Italian Government and became Executive Director for Italy, Greece, Malta and Portugal.

In October 1979 he was appointed Director General of the Bank of Italy, a position he held until May 1994, when he became Minister of the Treasury. Subsequently, he was Prime Minister (1995-96) and Foreign Minister (1996-2001). He was a senator of the Republic from 2001 to 2013.