Jatta was born in Rome. Her grandmother was a painter, and both her mother and sister work in art restoration. Jatta has joked that she was born among the smell of solvents. She studied Literature at the University of Rome (Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"), with her thesis, "The History of Drawing, Engraving and Graphics", being completed in 1986. She later went on to earn degrees in Archive Administration and Art History. After her studies in Italy, she studied in England, Portugal, and the United States. Since 1994 she has taught at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University in Naples and in 1996 she joined and led the prints section of the Vatican Library. She became the vice-director of the Vatican Museums under Antonio Paolucci in June 2016.
On 20 December 2016 she was appointed by Pope Francis as the director of the Vatican Museums, replacing Antonio Paolucci who has been the director since 2007. She took the position on 1 January 2017. There are higher positions in the Vatican but the role of bishops, cardinals and the Pope are reserved for male priests. She is responsible for artworks that includes the iconic ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican museums earns more than $300m with profits of $40m from visitors to their museums. Jatta has recognised the work done by her predecessors. She says that she will eliminate the unsightly queue of visitors who stand to await entry. She will encourage visitors to enjoy the lesser known sections of the museum which should reduce crowding of the Sistine Chapel. She planned to utilize the "new media" to both publicize and educate. All this must be done, she said, while "paying special attention to the ‘Vatican tradition’." In March 2017, Jatta presided over the opening of a show at the Vatican Museums for the first time: Dilectissimo fratri Caesario Symmachus». From Arles to Rome, the relics of St. Caesarius, treasure of Paleo-Christian Gaul.
Since 1988 Jatta has been married to Fabio Midulla, a medical educator, and they have three children.
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