Neoclassic painter born in Palermo, Riolo trained initially with Antonio Manno and Francesco Sozzi. At the age of twenty moved to Rome to work under Giovanni Battista Wicar and studied the paintings of the masters of ‘500 and 600’, his inspiration for the rest of his life. Returned to Palermo, he married Anna, the daughter of the painter Giuseppe Velazquez and in 1828, he replaced his father in law as professor at the Accademia del nudo in Palermo.
He was considered an “innovator” for his mastery of “colorito”, the composition of his design and his ability in mixing together neoclassical and romantic elements. Among his works, frescoes in the Palazzo Tasca and Gangi, in the Royal Villa della Favorita, the church of Olivella, and the Royal Palace (Reggia) of Ficuzza. Riolo died in 1837 during a cholera epidemic in Palermo.