Born in La Maddalena, Sardinia, Battaglia spent his childhood in Genoa. He later moved to Rome where he studied stage design at the Accademia di Belle Arti, focusing on painting and majoring with an essay on Jackson Pollock. In 1964, he started exhibiting in Rome and Milan and in 1967 resided for six months in New York, befriending Reinhart, Motherwell and, in particular, Mark Rothko, whose studio he visited daily.
Battaglia participated in the Venice Biennale with an individual space in 1970 and in 1980. From the 1970s he participated in all the major exhibitions dedicated to Analytic Painting and New Painting.