Fausto Baratta was born on 4 October 1867 in Traversetolo (in the province of Parma) to a family whose origins date back to the 13th century.
He went to primary and secondary school in the nearby city of Parma, managing not to be a “burden" on his family thanks to scholarships obtained due to his excellent results.
He then attended the Turin Polytechnic, graduating in Civil Engineering with full marks in 1891. That same year, he joined the Naval Engineers as a student engineer after passing a public examination and, according to the custom of the time, he was sent to the Naval High School in Genoa to attend the last two years of the Naval and Mechanical Engineering courses.
He also got a second degree in 1893 with excellent marks. At the same time, he attended the courses for a specialisation in Electrotechnics at the School of Turin, where Galileo Ferraris taught, and passed his specialisation in electrotechnics in 1894.
That same year he submitted his first project to the Ministry of the Navy for the production and transportation of electricity to the Arsenale of La Spezia: the project involved the diversion of water from the river Magra near Pontremoli and a power station in Villafranca with an output of 3,000 horsepower, which at the time was sufficient for the needs of the Arsenale. It was a daring and pioneering project for both Europe and America, as at the time there were very few hydroelectric plants with three-phase alternating current, since expertise in systems for the remote transportation of electrical power had not yet been developed.
The then Minister of the Navy, Admiral Costantino Morin, wrote an official letter of commendation to Baratta for the project he had submitted.
In 1900, he submitted a study that began in 1895 for the hydroelectric use of the catchment area of the upper Enza valley (which he knew very well because it was the land of his ancestors, where he had spent the summer holidays for many years) involving the creation of an artificial lake in Lagastrello, capable of producing over 100 million kilowatt hours per year.
The project was submitted to the Italian Parliament by the Honorable Admiral Magnaghi and a commission was appointed to examine the Baratta Project chaired by Senator Professor Giuseppe Colombo (Director of Milan Polytechnic) and by Professors Paladini, Zunini and Arnò, who after about a year of tests and inspections issued a report which concluded that the Baratta project was “an original and intelligent amalgamation of brilliant ideas and practical concepts inspired by great expertise and a keen interest in the Royal Navy and the future of the National economy".
In 1904, Professor Luigi Zunini founded the Società Idroelettrica Ligure (known as SIEL, later known as CIELI) in Genoa, which bought the project from Baratta and 600 hectares of woods that, in the meantime, Baratta had secured in the upper Apennines.
In 1906, he received the gold medal at the International Exposition in Milan for an essay entitled “On the hydraulic conditions of the Val di Magra and the high Valleys of Enza", which contained a significant amount of important hydraulic data.
In 1906, Fausto Baratta submitted projcts for the hydroelectric plants of Brasimone and Limentra, involving the creation of the artificial lake of Suviana.
Nel 1906 l’ingegner Fausto Baratta presentò i progetti degli impianti idroelettrici del Brasimone e del Limentra, con la creazione del lago artificiale di Suviana.
In 1909, with the help of another engineer called Paul Mailly, Baratta founded the “Società Idroelettrica Val di Magra": in that same year, construction work began on the Hydroelectric Plant of Bagnone (province of Massa-Carrara), whose plants, used by the municipal aqueduct of La Spezia, are still in operation to this day.