Nothing is known about Landriani's education; presumably, he learned chemistry and physics somewhere in Italy.
There is no information about Landriani until 1775 when his work Physical investigations on the salubrity of air appeared. In 1776 he was appointed a teacher of physics in the schools of higher education then being established in Milan. In 1781 he published his second book, Physical-chemical pamphlets, which contributed to opening a new way to the theory of acidity. By appointment of the government, in 1787-1788 he made a long tour of the leading countries of Europe in order to study their scientific and technological development. In 1790 he was a government adviser, and in this capacity, he ordered the establishment of the Veterinary School of Milan. Toward the end of 1791, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Dresden, where he continued to study physics, spreading knowledge of Galvani’s recent electrophysiological discoveries. In 1794 he moved to Vienna, where he spent the remaining years of his life.
Landriani’s name is repeatedly linked to Volta’s inventions (from the electrophorus to the pile) and especially to the eudiometer. The term was first used by Landriani in Ricerche to indicate the instrument he had devised to measure the purity of the air. The method had been introduced in 1772 by Joseph Priestley, who had proposed measuring the “different disposition of airs for breathing” by means of the NO + O2 reaction: “nitrous air” (nitrogen bioxide) plus the gas of common air, which Priestley himself obtained in 1774 and called “dephlogisticated air” (later named oxygen by Lavoisier). By means of this reaction reddish vapors (higher oxides of nitrogen) are formed; being strongly water-soluble, they are removed by water, in the presence of which the reaction is carefully performed. The reaction thus indicates the consumption of oxygen, or of part of common air. The greater the reduction in volume that the latter undergoes, the richer in oxygen it is and hence the healthier.
Volta very acutely defined the hygienic value of the method and radically transformed the instrument, assigning it new tasks. In 1777 the eudiometer entered the history of science as a valued instrument for analyzing gases.
Nothing is known about Landriani's family.