A native of Turin, Soldati attended the Liceo Sociale, a Jesuit-run school, and finished secondary school at age 17. He then studied humanities at the University of Turin. At that time, the University was a hotbed of intellectual activity and the young Soldati would meet and befriend the likes of activist and writer Carlo Levi and journalist Giacomo Debenedetti, who were his seniors. He later studied History of Art at the University of Rome. He started publishing novels in 1929. He achieved the widest notice with America primo amore, published in 1935, a memoir of the time he spent teaching at Columbia University. He won literary awards for his work, most notably the Strega Prize for Lettere da Capri in 1954.