He was born in Carona, Ticino, and apprenticed under his father Guiniforte Solari, himself an architect and sculptor. In 1476, he was hired to continue the construction of the Duomo di Milano. Later on, he was in charge of several construction projects in Milan. In 1484 he sculpted a tomb in the Cathedral of Alessandria.
In 1487, he was invited to Russia by Ivan III to construct the walls and towers of the Moscow Kremlin. Within the next two years, Solari built most of the walls (excluding the western wall built by his successor Aleviz) and towers of the Kremlin, including the Borovitskaya, Konstantino-Eleninskaya, Spasskaya, Nikolskaya, and Corner Arsenalnaya towers. Engineering methods, technique and architectural forms, used by Solari, were reminiscent of the fortifications of Northern Italy.
On top of the Spasskie Gates there was inscribed the following inscription:
IOANNES VASILII DEI GRATIA MAGNUS DUX VOLODIMERIAE, MOSCOVIAE, NOVOGARDIAE, TFERIAE, PLESCOVIAE, VETICIAE, ONGARIAE, PERMIAE, BUOLGARIAE ET ALIAS TOTIUSQ(UE) RAXIE D(OMI)NUS, A(N)NO 30 IMPERII SUI HAS TURRES CO(N)DERE F(ECIT) ET STATUIT PETRUS ANTONIUS SOLARIUS MEDIOLANENSIS A(N)NO N(ATIVIT) A(TIS) D(OM)INI 1491 K(ALENDIS) M(ARTIIS) I(USSIT) P(ONERE).
He died in Moscow in May 1493.
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