Viganò was born in Naples. He studied composition with Luigi Boccherini (his uncle) and by the mid-1780s was composing original music. In 1788, he appeared as a dancer on the stage in Venice. He performed in the coronation festivities of Charles IV of Spain in 1789. He became a pupil of the French dancer and choreographer Jean Dauberval. In 1791, he and his wife achieved success as a dancing team in Venice, where he choreographed his first ballet, Raoul de Créqui. He was ballet master in Vienna and collaborated with Beethoven on the ballet The Creatures of Prometheus. He returned to Italy in 1804 and became the ballet master of La Scala ballet school in Milan. He is considered the father of a new kind of performance called "coreodramma" where the pantomime served the dance and the ensembles where very significant. He died in Milan.