He graduated in 1963 at the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome. Among his first performances Schwarz's The Dragon in the season 1966/67 produced by the Teatro Stabile in Genoa with whom he has a close working relationship since 2000. He appeared in several films including: Girolimoni of Damiani, Profondo Rosso, Inferno, and Non ho sonno of Dario Argento, Voci directed by Giraldi, Il quaderno della spesa directed by Tonino Cervi in 2006 and Salvatore –Questa è la vita by Gian Paolo Cugno. From 1980 to 1987 he was co-director of the Teatro Eliseo in Rome. From 1997 to 2000 he was Director of the Teatro Stabile in Torino. He runs his own company Lavia. In 2004 he won the "Olympic Theatre" awards for best director and best drama show with L’Avaro.
Since December 2010 he is Director of Teatro di Roma.
2012: Tutto per bene, L. Pirandello-2011: I Masnadieri, F. Schiller -2010 : Il Malato immaginario, Moliere; 2009: Macbeth, W. Shakespeare, 2007: Misura per Misura, W.Shakespeare; 2007: Molto Rumore per nulla, W. Shakespeare; 2006: Memorie dal Sottosuolo by F. Dostoevskij 2005: Chi ha paura di Virginia Wolf? By E. Albee. 2003: L’Avaro by Molière; 2002: La Storia immortale by Lavia from Blixen; 2000: Edipo Re by Sophocles (third exhibition); Il Misantropo by Molière; Dopo la prova by Bergman ; 1999: Una donna mite by F.Dostoevskij ; 1998: Non si sa come by Pirandello (second production);1997: Commedia senza titolo by Chechov, Scene da un matrimonio, Bergman; 1996: Richard II by Shakespeare, Il gioco delle parti by Pirandello; 1995: Il Giardino del ciliegi by Chechov; 1994: Sogno di un uomo ridicolo by Dostoevskij, Otello by W. Shakespeare; 1993: Il duello by Lavia from Kleist - 1992: Signorina Giulia by Strindberg, Uomo, bestia e virtù by Pirandello; 1991: Il nipote di Rameau by Diderot - 1990: Zio Vanja by Chechov, Il padre by Strindberg (new production) ;1989: Richard III by W. Shakespeare;1988: Edipo Re by Sophocles.
At the same time Gabriele Lavia has a wide activity as Opera director, his highlights among others:
in 2008 Giovanna D’Arco by Verdi (Teatro Regio di Parma), 2001 Luisa Miller (Teatro San Carlo di Napoli) by G. Verdi, Cavalleria rusticana by Mascagni in 1993 (Arena) and I Pagliacci by Leoncavallo, Maria Stuarda by Donizetti in 1988, in 1986 I Masnadieri, I Lombardi alla prima crociata di Verdi in 1984 (Teatro alla Scala); 1983: I pellegrini alla Mecca by Gluck.
He directed Salome, conducted by Maestro Luisotti, at the opening of the opera season of Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte at Suntory Hall in Tokyo (Mozart's three-year project), Salome in Trieste, Attila at La Scala in Milan, Don Giovanni in San Francisco, I Masnadieri in Naples, Attila in San Francisco.
In summer 2012, he took part in The 24 HoursPlays with Maurizio Scaparro at Tuscan Sun Festival in Florence, and recently he directed Artaserse at Festival della Valle d'Itria in Martina Franca, and I Masnadieri in Venice.