Carla Fracci was born in Milan in 1936. She studied at the La Scala Ballet School from 1946 with Vera Volkova and others, graduating into the company in 1954. Promoted soloist in 1956 and principal in 1958. At La Scala she created Juliet in Cranko's Romeo and Juliet (1958) and Elvira in Massine's Don Giovanni (1959). She appeared with many companies like London Festival Ballet in 1959 and 1962, Royal Ballet in 1963, Stuttgart Ballet in 1965 and Royal Swedish Ballet in 1969. From 1967 she was principal guest artist of the American Ballet Theatre.
She is renowned for her interpretation of the romantic roles. Giselle was her greatest success, she danced it with many great partners like with Rudolf Nureyev, Vladimir Vasiliev, Henning Kronstam, Mikhail Baryshnikov and above all Erik Bruhn. Her unforgettable Giselle with Bruhn was filmed in 1969. Other great roles were Sylphide, Swanilda and Juliet.
She was director of ballet in Naples 1990-91 and in Verona 1995-97. She is now director of Balletto dell'Opera di Roma.