He is thought to have been born in Bologna, and was the son of Tommaso Ristori, the leader of an opera troupe belonging to the King of Poland and Elector of Saxony August II the Strong (based in Dresden). August II 'loaned' his opera troupe to the Russian Empress Anna for the celebration of her coronation in Moscow. Ristori died in Dresden.
Calandro, his opera in three acts to a libretto by Stefano Benedetto Pallavicino, was both the first opera buffa written in Germany and also the first Italian opera performed in Russia. It was given under his, and his father’s direction, with thirteen actors and nine singers including Ludovica Seyfried, Margherita Ermini and Rosalia Fantasia, in 1731 in Moscow.