Giulio Briccialdi was born in Terni, Italy. He began his studies the flute with his father to continue in Rome.
He soon began a career as a professional of the highest level, obtaining prestigious engagements such the appointment as flute professor of the Count of Syracuse, brother of the King of Naples, Ferdinand of Bourbon.
The enthusiasm of the public for Briccialdi was so great, that a refined and severe critic as Richard S. Rockstro wrote in his book A Treatise on the Flute: “I have no hesitation in saying that Briccialdi was one of the finest performers that I ever heard on any instrument. His perfect intonation, varied style and consummate mastery over his instrument are to be remembered but not described. His tone made such an impression upon me that I immediately set it up as a model to be imitated if possible, I therefore seized every opportunity of hearing him play.”
As a convinced advocate of the unification of Italy, he was personally involved in several fund raising concerts to subsidize General Giuseppe Garibaldi. In 1871 he became flute Professor at the Florence Conservatory, where the flute model invented by him was adopted.
As a composer, he devoted himself mainly to the composition of paraphrases and variations on operatic themes, this being the most popular genre for the public and the most suitable to achieve fame and success.
The concept of Paraphrase or Air with variations, along with the taste for famous operatic themes and for pure virtuosity, captivated an entire generation of performers throughout Europe and in Italy.
Paganini for the violin, Bottesini for the double bass, Cavallini for the clarinet and Briccialdi for the flute, became the link between the brilliant à la mode operatic theater environment and the vertiginous desire to push beyond any limit the technical possibilities of the instruments.