Her father wanted her to have a future as a lawyer, but Donatella dreamed to become an actress. After getting a job in a law firm, in fact, she left it to fully devote herself to drama. Her debut on stage was in 1996 with Maeterlinck’s La principessa Maleine. Instead, her debut on screen, in 2002, involved her as a protagonist in Roberta Torre’s movie Angela, in which she gained a nomination to David di Donatello for best actress.
After taking part, in 2008, to the tv fiction Aldo Moro – il presidente, she received a nomination to Nastro d’Argento and one to David di Donatello for best actress in Edoardo Winspeare’s Galantuomini. She continued to work at a high level in Tornatore’s Baarìa (2009) and in 2011 in Torre’s I baci mai dati, in Bellocchio’s Sorelle Mai, in Veronesi’s Manuale d’amore and in Crialese’s Terraferma. In the following years she played in art films as Pannone’s Sul vulcano (2014) and in Pau’s L’accabadora, then in Laura Morante’s Assolo (2015) and in Francesco Bruni’s Tutto quello che vuoi (2017). Her last work has involved her in the cast of Gli sdraiati, directed by Francesca Archibugi.