He is the son-in-law of the politician and journalist Giuseppe Firrarello.
He has been member of the Management Committee of the USL 39 – Bronte (1984–89) and President of the USL Guarantors Committee 39.
He was municipal councilor of Bronte from 1989 to 1992 for the Christian Democracy, and in 1996 he was elected to the Sicilian Regional Assembly with the United Christian Democrats, with 8,487 votes of preference. He served as regional Assessor for Industry of the Sicilian Region from 1996 to 2000, initially in the centre-right governments led by Provenzano (1996–98) and Drago (1998), later in the centre-left governments led by Capodicasa (1998-2000). In 1998 he joined the Union of Democrats for Europe; subsequently, in 2000, he joined Forza Italia.
On 24 June 2001 he was re-elected to the ARS on the Forza Italia list with 18,087 votes, the most voted candidate in that election. He was appointed Vice President of the Sicilian Region and regional Assessor for Agriculture in the Cuffaro government, until 2004.
He has been National Vice President of AICCRE (Italian Association of Municipalities and Regions of Europe) and member of the World Council of CGLU (United Cities and Local Governments)”.
In 2004 he was elected MEP in the Italian Islands constituency and resigned from the ARS. He joined the European People’s Party group and sat in the Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development, of the Commission on Civil Freedoms, Justice and Home Affairs and of the Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (including Libya); he was also substitute member of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and of the Delegation for relations with the People’s Republic of China. In those years he was Forza Italia’s spokesperson at the European Parliament and regional deputy coordinator of Forza Italia in Sicily.
In 2008 he was elected President of the Province of Catania. In April 2009 he was appointed regional coordinator of the PdL in Sicily, together with Domenico Nania. He was elected president of UPI (Union of Italian Provinces) on 11 December 2009. On 10 November 2010 he was elected President of the European association of provinces, or rather of the CEPLI (European Confederation of Local Intermediate Authorities) institute.
On 31 October 2012 he resigned as President of the Province of Catania to be able to stand as a candidate in the 2013 general elections, in which he was later elected to the Chamber of Deputies. With his resignation from the Presidency of the Province he also left the Presidency of UPI and CEPLI.
In May 2013 he was appointed Undersecretary of State to the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies in the Letta government.