Having graduated with honors in 1988 in International Law at the Political Science faculty “Cesare Alfieri” at the University of Florence, he started working at a research center, while serving for two mandates in the local administration of Florence.
He was member of the Italian Parliament from 1996 to 2015 (1996/2004 and 2008/2015), and also member of the European Parliament (2004/2008).
As an Italian MP, he was member of the Committees on Constitutional Affairs, European Affairs and on International Affairs. As a MEP in Brussels, he worked at the Economic and Monetary Affairs and Foreign Affairs Committees.
During this period, he has also been the President of the EU-South Africa Delegation and a member of the Italian Delegation to the OSCE, where he conducted several monitoring missions in transitional democracies.
He served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy from 2013 to 2015. He resigned from all his institutional and political roles in July 2015, when he entered Eni as Senior Vice President for Strategic Analysis for Business Development Support. He was appointed Executive Vice President in April 2017.
He taught and lectured at the University of Florence, the Overseas Studies Program of Stanford University and many others international academic institutions. He regularly contributed to many European and American think tanks and research centers specialized in international relations. He is a member of the board of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), of the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), of the editorial board of Oil and of the scientific committee of EastWest.
As a journalist, he regularly publishes in various newspapers issues related to European and international affairs and on specialized magazines, such as Limes. He authored several publications: in his last book, Il nuovo sogno arabo – Dopo le rivoluzioni, Feltrinelli 2012, he analyses the origin and challenges of the ‘Arab Spring’ and its impact on the geo-political scenario in North Africa and the Middle East.