Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni was born in Grosseto (Tuscany, Italy) June 22, 1964. After completing high school in Venice, he joined the Navy and attended the Naval Academy in Leghorn between 1983 and 1987, Naval Warfare College in 1994/95 and the Defence Warfare College in 2003/2004. He has a degree in Physics and in Maritime and Navigational Science.
In 1995-96, Fantoni was the Commanding Officer of the Italian minehunter Gaeta. From 1996 to 1999, Fantoni served as Chief of Operational Department on board the destroyer Durand De La Penne. During this tour Fantoni participated in Basic Operational Sea Training (BOST) and the Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) of the Royal Navy and to the Operation Allied Force during Kosovo crisis. This was followed by a commission as a Staff Officer at the Training Department of the Italian Fleet Headquarters (CINCNAV) until 2003 as Combat Information Operation and Electronic Warfare officer.
In 2004-05, with the rank of Commander, he commanded the Italian offshore petrol vessel Comandante Foscari. Under his command, the ship reached full operational capability and then carried out several Presence and Surveillance missions in the Sicily Strait, Central Mediterranean Sea and in the Gulf of Biscay. From October 2012 for a period of one year, Fantoni was the Commanding Officer of the amphibious ship San Giusto, engaged in several activities in national and international environment, including the deployment in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean for the 12th rotation in the EU counter-piracy Operation ATALANTA.
In 2005 Fantoni was assigned for three years to the NATO Joint Operational Command in Lisbon (Portugal), as Exercise Branch Head within the Training & Exercise Division, participating in NATO response Force (NRF) preparation activities and exercises as Officer of Primary Responsibility for the Joint Command.
Between November 2008 and October 2012, Fantoni was assigned for a second tour at the CINCNAV Headquarters as Plans Section Head and Plans & Policy Division Head. From November 2013 until the end of 2015 he was Chief of Staff of the Second Naval Group in Taranto. He served as Chief of Staff of the 30th Naval Group during the Naval Campaign "A Country on the Move" onboard Italian aircraft carrier Cavour, circumnavigating Africa from January to April 2014. From June 2015 Fantoni was assigned as Chief of Staff of EUNAVFOR MED Force aboard ITS Cavour. Finally from 2016 to September 2019 Fantoni served as the Defence Attaché at the Italian Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia.
On December 16, 2019, Rear Admiral Fantoni became Commander of the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two. He and his staff are deployed aboard the Italian Navy frigate Carabiniere.
He enjoys spending his free time playing golf and taking care of his two Italian classic cars. He is married to Mrs. Rita and has a daughter of 16 years, Giorgia.