Valerio Adami was born in Bologna in 1935. In 1951, he was accepted into the Accademia di Brera, where studied as a draughtsman in Achille Funi's studio for three years.
Once he ended his studies he moved to Paris in 1955 where he met Roberto Matta an Wilfredo Lam. Their work made an influence on Adami and so, he reflected this influence on his paintings. Soon after, in 1957, Adami held his first solo exhibition in Milan. Since then he began to travel back and forth between Italy and Paris, but also tripped to London, New York, South America and India.
Married to his wife Camilla, he finally settled in Arona at Lago Maggiore, in 1962. After five years he begins to travel again to London and New York. Paintings of this time have urban topics influenced by these cities. He keeps travelling for a few years to countries like India, United States, Israel, Mexico or Morocco.
There were four retrospective exhibits of Adami's work between 1985 to 1998. They were held in Paris at the Centre George Pompidou, the Centre Julio-González in Valencia (Spain), Tel Aviv, and Buenos Aires.
The Galerie Daniel Templon has represented Adami in Europe since 2004.
Adami's works were, in his early years of career, expressionistic but by the time of his second exhibition in 1964 at Kassel, he developed a style of painting characterized by elaborate drawing, featuring regions of flat color bordered by black lines. Adami defines painting as "a complex proposal, in which previous visual experiences constitute unpredictable combinations". The figurative aspect of his works proceeds from a reconstruction of perception aiming at an appropriation of images and not at a direct reference to perceived reality.