Bertati was born in Martellago, Italy. In 1763, he wrote his first libretto, La morte di Dimone, set to music by Antonio Tozzi. Two years later, L'isola della fortuna, based on Bertati's libretto and Andrea Luchesi's music, was performed in Vienna. During 1770, Bertati visited Vienna several times, where he collaborated with Baldassare Galuppi. Emperor Leopold II gave Bertati the title of Poeta Cesareo ("Imperial Poet") of the Italian Opera in Vienna, previously held by Lorenzo Da Ponte, who, a year earlier, fell in disgrace with the emperor. He died in Venice, Italy.
During his career as a librettist, Bertati was almost exclusively devoted to writing drammi giocosi. His most celebrated libretto is Il matrimonio segreto, set to the music of Domenico Cimarosa.