He was born in Rome on 25 March 1935. His grandfather, Severino Civitella, a stonemason, founded the family workshop in 1875, in the “Cortilaccio” of Borgo Santo Spirito, a historic place for meeting and work of Roman sculptors and craftsmen. From an early age, Severino began to hang around the family workshop and the other marble workers of the “Cortilaccio”, learning the trade directly from the stone workers. He has been trained in technical and freehand drawing at the School of Preparation for the Ornamental Arts in Rome. During the years of his grandfather’s work, he carried out important works around Rome, from the construction of the right-hand side of the Palace of Justice to restorations in various cathedrals, including the Basilica of St. Peter’s. He continued his family business under the guidance of his father Augusto Civitella. He then continued the tradition on his own, transmitting his craftsmanship to his children Armando and Riccardo, who brought the Civitella family to its fourth generation of stonemasons; theirs is the oldest artisan workshop in Rome.
Thanks to his relationship with the sculptor Fernando Onori, father of Leonardo, Severino Civitella came into official contact with Rome’s Università dei Marmorari and met master Enrico Fiorentini, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, former members of the University at a time when the association’s activity consisted in mutual assistance between marble workers.