Sylvano Bussotti was born into a family of artists (notably his brother Renzo, and his uncle Tono Zancanaro), he began to take violin lessons at the age of five. He studied harmony and counterpoint at the Florence Conservatory, where he also attended Dallapiccola's courses on the piano (which were generally more concerned with philosophical and cultural discussion than with instrumental technique). His intense affection for French culture was reinforced by his studies in Paris, where from 1956 to 1958 he attended Deutsch's private courses and encountered Boulez. Throughout the earlier 1950s, he produced a number of youthful works, including several marionette shows. They remain unpublished, though several have been revisited by the composer in more recent years.