He obtained a doctorate at the University of Vienna, where his adviser was Wilhelm Meyer-Lubke, in 1898. He was influenced by certain theories of the Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce and the German linguist Karl Vossler. He later also studied with Jules Gilliéron in Paris. From Gilliéron he acquired a penchant for fieldwork, and from 1900 on he published numerous dialectological studies of Istrian dialects. 
His study on the Dalmatian language, Das Dalmatische (2 vol. 1906) is the only known complete description of the language, which is now extinct. It remains "the standard work on Dalmatian," and contains every known text in the language. Bartoli used data gathered in 1897 from the last speaker of Dalmatian, Tuone Udaina, who was killed in an explosives accident on June 10, 1898.
He also wrote Introduzione alla neolinguistica ("Introduction to neolinguistics", 1925) and Saggi di linguistica spaziale ("Essays in spatial linguistics", 1945) and was the teacher of Antonio Gramsci.
- Tullio De Mauro (2009). Harro Stammerjohann, ed. Lexicon Grammaticorum. pp. 104–105. ISBN 3484971126.
- Tullio De Mauro (1964). "BARTOLI, Matteo Giulio". Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (in Italian). 6.
- Kathryn F. Bach; Glanville Price (1977). Romance Linguistics and the Romance Languages: A Bibliography of Bibliographies. p. 167. ISBN 0729300552.
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