He was born in Porto Maurizio, near Genoa; he moved as a child to Otranto, where his father was consul for the French government. In 1819, he moved to Naples, where he first worked in the Royal Topographic Office, where he met Giacinto Gigante. With Gigante, he began training first under Jakob Wilhelm Hüber, then in the Academy under Pitloo. He published (with Gigante and others) a series of lithographs in a Viaggio pittorico nel Regno delle Due Sicilie (1829–1834). In 1848, he moved to Benevento, where he continued drawing and painting. He married Gigante's sister, and vice versa, and is considered a member of the School of Posillipo. His son, Alberto Vianelli, also a landscape painter moved to Paris. Vianelli's sister, Flora, married Theodore Witting, a German landscape artist and engraver. His nephew Gustavo Witting, also became a landscape painter.
Vianelli died in Benevento on 2 April 1894.
- Lord Napier erroneously refers to him as Giambattista, the name of his father.
- Important Works on Paper: Vedute from the Kingdom of Naples from the 18th and 19th Centuries, Catalogue edited by Ermanno Bellucci, with editorial assistance by Milena Naldi, BNB Art Consulting]
- Italian Wikipedia entry
- Napier, Lord Francis (1855). Notes on Modern Painting at Naples.. West Strand, London: John W. Parker and Son. p. 80.
- ‘‘Dizionario degli Artisti Italiani Viventi: pittori, scultori, e Architetti.’’, by Angelo de Gubernatis. Tipe dei Successori Le Monnier, 1889, page 545.