The son of journalist and writer Luigi Barzini, he was born in Rome on december 14, 1952. He got his master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Milan in 1977.
After several documentaries for television and a number of films as assistant director, to Federico Fellini amongst others, he made his debut with the musical feature film “Flipper” (1983) starring Margherita Buy and Christian De Sica which premiered at Venice International Film Festival in 1983.
Three years later he directed Desiderando Giulia (1986) starring Sergio Rubini and Serena Grandi.
In 1991 he directed the tv movie “Sassofono” starring Amanda Sandrelli and Massimo Wertmuller.
In 1990 he wrote and directed the popular italian film Italy – Germany 4-3, starring Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Massimo Ghini, Giuseppe Cederna and Nancy Brilli.
In 1992 his fourth feature film “Volevamo essere gli U2” about an aspiring rock band, was again selected at Venice International Film Festival. The film starred Enrico Loverso, Alberto Molinari and Marco Galli.
In 1996 he wrote “A Complicated Family” (Giunti), an autobiographical book about his political fights in the 70s and his complex family situation.
For television he has written and directed several television series such as “Chiara e gli altri” (1987) starring Ottavia Piccolo and Alessandro Haber, “Alexandria Hotel” (1997) starring Rod Steiger, Michael Saucedo, James Duval, Stefano Dionisi, Heather Graham, Giuliana de Sio, Sarah Lassez, Valeria Golino and Stephanie Romanov, “Don Matteo” starring Terrence Hilland Flavio Insinna (2002-2005), “Io e Mamma“(2006) starring Stefania Sandrelli, “Capri 2” (2007) with Gabriella Pession and “Ho Sposato Uno Sbirro 2” (2011).
In 2005 he wrote and directed his fifth feature film Passo a Due, starring albanian dancer Kledi Kadiu and actress Laura Chiatti.