Gianni Bartoli lived at a mansion in Via Caravelli in a desolate part of Venice under the control of the Fiamma Nera. It is likely that he paid a visit to China at some point as he collected various Qin Dynasty relics and the Emperor's 'toys' - devious traps which were installed throughout the mansion should intruders set foot within the building. Gianni was also a magician at the Opera House adjacent to the mansion. It is possible that his success as a magician may have been influenced by a relic he collected, although this is unclear.
At an unknown location, Gianni discovered the Seraph, a key required to open some catacombs beneath the Barkhang Monastery in Tibet which had previously been stolen from the monastery. Gianni confided to his son, Marco, that he possessed the Seraph and felt enlightened by this development. Soon, Gianni left in his luxury ship, the Maria Doria, and presumably set off for Tibet. However, the ship was bombed by Tibetan monks who do not want anyone to ultimately recover the Dagger of Xian at the Emperor's palace in China, the relic that the Fiamma Nera have been seeking for centuries. Gianni died and the Seraph was lost. Leadership over the Fiamma Nera was passed down to Marco. Not knowing where exactly the ship sank, the Fiamma Nera would spend years searching before they discovered Gianni's watery grave and continued the quest.
The Opera House poster with Gianni on it is in fact an edited Harry Houdini poster. The word 'Bartoli' has been added and a moustache and beard have been added to the face.
A Gamesmaster Magazine article stated that one of the elements the story evolved around was a dead magician called Callistro. This is either a mistake or is in fact an earlier version of Gianni's name. So, he may have once been known as Callistro Bartoli before he became Gianni Bartoli.