Born in Poppi, Tuscany, Piero Gherardi began his artistic collaboration with Fellini during the 1953 production of I vitelloni. The director recognized his talent for scouting locations and extras and his deep knowledge of the region of Lazio. Gherardi soon proved his skills in set design by building Cabiria's shack in Fellini's Le notti di Cabiria (1957).
Gherardi had studied to become an architect but started working in film production in Italy, in the late 1940s. 
Beside his two Academy Awards, he was nominated an additional four times: three times for the Academy Award for Best Production Design for La Dolce Vita, 8½ and Juliet of the Spirits and another in the category of Costume Design for Juliet of the Spirits.
Before his death in Rome in 1971, Gherardi had mastered numerous roles as Costume Designer, Production Designer, Art Director, and Set Decorator.
- Tullio Kezich, Federico Fellini: His Life and Work, New York: Faber and Faber, 2006, p. 177.