Born Cavaliere Giuseppe Campari near the city of Lodi southwest of Milan, as a teenager he went to work for the Alfa automobile company. Campari's job eventually involved test driving factory cars and his skills and interest led to his participation in competitive hillclimbing events. In 1914 the 21-year-old rookie showed his abilities with a fourth place finish at the Targa Florio. Unfortunately, his career was just getting going when World War I broke out and European racing came to a halt. Following the Armistice that ended the war, racing resumed and in 1920 Campari earned his first major race win and the first for the Alfa Romeo company when he drove to victory at Mugello in Tuscany.
In addition to his love of automobile racing, Giuseppe Campari had two other passions: food, in great quantities that he liked to prepare himself, and the opera. Blessed with a great baritone voice, he took singing lessons and while still racing began to sing professionally dreaming of one day performing at the Teatro alla Scala.
The 1928 season saw Giuseppe Campari win his second consecutive Coppa Acerbo and his first at the Mille Miglia. He earned a second-place finish in the Targa Florio, a race he entered several times and although he frequently finished near the top, he never managed a win. The following year he repeated as champion at the Mille Miglia. The Italian Grand Prix on September 10, 1933 at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Monza, Italy was to be his last race. After 20 years without any major accidents, disaster struck in one of the blackest days in Grand Prix racing history. While leading the race, Campari was instantly killed when his car crashed after skidding in a sharp turn on a patch of leaked engine oil. Immediately behind him in second place, team-mate Baconin Borzacchini tried unsuccessfully to avoid Campari's wrecked vehicle and was killed when his car veered off the track.