Born in Florence in 1924, Sartori began his academic career as a lecturer in the History of Modern Philosophy. He founded the first Political Science academic post in Italy, and was Dean of the newly formed University of Florence's Department of Political Science. Sartori served as Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University from 1979 to 1994 and was later appointed Professor Emeritus.
He is a recipient of a Prince of Asturias Award (Social Sciences area, 2005). In 2009, he was the recipient of the Karl Deutsch Award  of the International Political Science Association (IPSA), which honours a prominent scholar engaged in the cross-disciplinary research.
His article "Concept Misformation in Comparative Politics" published in The American Political Science Review is prominent in the field, leading Gary Goertz to write, "There are few articles in political science that deserve the predicate "classic," but Sartori's ... merits the label."
Sartori is also a regular contributor, as an op-ed writer, of the leading Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera".
- Democrazia e Definizioni. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1957.
- (1970) "Concept Misformation in Comparative Politics." The American Political Science Review 64 (4): 1033-1053.
- Parties and Party Systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976.
- The Theory of Democracy Revisited. Chatham, N.J: Chatham House, 1987.
- Comparative Constitutional Engineering. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1994.
- La Terra Scoppia (Italy, 2003. The title means "the Earth explodes").
Books on Sartori
Three books deal with the work of Sartori:
- Concepts and Method in Social Sciences. The tradition of Giovanni Sartori. David Collier and John Gerring, editors, New York: Routledge, 2009. This book is devoted to the use of concepts according to Sartori, the comparative method and his work, and includes an autobiographical essay and some more personal notes written by some of his former students, like Cindy Skach.
- La Scienza Politica di Giovanni Sartori. Gianfranco Pasquino, editor, Bologna: Il Mulino, 2005. The chapters of this book are celebration notes by Italian scholars (Domenico Fisichella, Angelo Panebianco) that have had some kind of collaboration with Sartori.
- Para Leer a Sartori. José Ramón López Rubí Calderón, editor, Mexico, 2009. This book is in Spanish, featuring articles by Gianfranco Pasquino and Dieter Nohlen, and is wider in scope. Besides, it seems, is more critical and more student-oriented. It covers the very Political Science part of Sartori's bulk of work, as well as the books that he has published dealing with such themes as multiculturalism, "videopolitics" and the environment.
- Karl Deutsch Award
- Gary Goertz. Concept Formation. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. p. 69
- Sartori's biography on ItaliaLibri
- Review of Pluralism, Multiculturalism and Foreigners: an Essay on Multiethnic Society
- Gianfranco Pasquino. (2005). "The Political Science of Giovanni Sartori". European Political Science 4 (1), 33–41.