Stefano Nicolao was born in Venice on 25th March 1954. In 1972 he graduated at the “Liceo artistico”, the Italian secondary school specialising in art subjects in Venice and, after having worked at the Venetian “A l'Avogaria” Theatre directed by Giovanni Poli, decided to use this experience and training to embrace a carrier as an actor.
At the same time, given his artistic background, he started to work as an assistant costume and set accessory maker with various costume designers specialising in the fields of theatre, cinema and television.
In 1975, he became the manager of the Costume department at the Permanent Theatre of Friuli Venezia Giulia (Teatro Stabile di Friuli Venezia Giulia) in Trieste for the theatrical season, a position which was reconfirmed for the following season, after which he decided to finally branch out and become a self-employed professional.
In 1980, with the revival of the Venice Carnival, he decided to remain in the city to found the company called "Il Baule" where he was in charge of the quality of the sets and costumes and also collaborated in creating them and selecting the fabrics.
In 1983 he established his independent company, "Nicolao Atelier”, with the aim of dedicating himself to the philological study of fabrics to create period costumes, particularly focusing on the history of Venetian costumes, considering handicraft tailoring of utmost importance even for the creation of accessories.