Giuseppe Ornati was born in Albairate, Italy near the city of Milan in 1887. He started his career as a carpenter and received his first training as a violin maker from Carlo Moneta. In 1903, he was employed at the Bisiach workshop under Leandro Bisiach where he worked alongside prolific maker Gaetano Sgarabotto. Sgarabotto left the workshop in 1905, but Ornati continued to work there for many years. Around 1910 he developed his own model, loosely inspired by the work of Stradivari and Amati but not an exact copy of either of the classic makers. The model of his instruments is usually described as a tribute to the Amati School.
Ornati made instruments and did repairs for the Bisiach workshop until he established his own workshop in 1919. He went on to recieve many awards for his work, including at the competition of Rome in 1920. Ornati taught at the violin making school in Cremona for several years. In fact, he became so attached to the school that he left all of his tools to their workshop upon his death.