He began the ecclesiastic career pushed by his parents, but he abandoned it and dedicated himself into engineering and architecture studies.
Thanks to a scholarship he went to Florence in 1811 where he met Canova. He visited Vicenza and Venice to study the works of Palladio and from 1812 he established himself in Rome.
After this intense neoclassical education, Maria Luisa of Bourbon called him back in Lucca in 1818, nominating him the Court's Royal Architect and appointed him the hard task of managing the restoration of the interiors of Palazzo Ducale.
Nottolini personally worked on every aspect, including the design of the plasters, decorations, accessories and some pieces of furniture for the new Reggia.
Between 1822 and 1834 he was busy with the building of the aqueduct of Guamo.
In 1827 with the new Monastery “dell'Angelo” in Vinchiana.
In 1834 he completed the western side of the Carrara courtyard with the Palazzina in which offices and service spaces were housed.
From 1837 to 1843 he made the Casino di Caccia of Carlo Lodovico in Pieve Santo Stefano. Along with the ducal commission, he worked on the main public works of the Dukedom: streets, bridges, rivers, urban and reclamation works, railways.
In 1839 he was sent to London to study the suspended bridges and in 1844 he designed the Ponte delle Catene in Fornoli (Bagni di Lucca), which was completed after his death in 1860.