Born in Cernusco Sul Naviglio in 1973, with a degree in Modern Literature, Rifici graduated from the Theatrical School of the Teatro Stabile di Torino in 2000. He collaborated as director with Luca Ronconi in the production of Progetto Domani, as part of the Turin Olympics 2006. He also worked with Ronconi on Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Ulisse doppio ritorno by Botho Strauss and Porfirio, Puccini's Turandot, and Shakespeare's the Merchant of Venice.
As director in 2001 he staged Cinque capitoli per una condanna based on Victor Hugo for the Teatro Stabile di Torino. In 2002 he directed Anton Chekhov's Three sisters for the Teatro Verdi di Milano and the Teatro della Contraddizione di Milano.
From 2003 to 2006 he was the resident director at the Teatro Litta di Milano, where he staged The turn of the screw by Henry James, La tardi ravveduta by Giuseppe Giacosa, and August Strindberg's Miss Julie. In 2004 he staged The just assassins by Arthur Camus for the Teatro di Sinalunga. In 2006 he directed Eugene O'Neill's Long day's journey into night for the Teatro Filodrammatici di Milano.
In 2007 he took part in the San Miniato Festival of Theatre with L'ennemi by Julien Green, and again in 2009 with Elena Bono's La testa del profeta. In 2008 for the Napoli Teatro Festival he presented Chie-Chan e io, based on the novel by Banana Yoshimoto and adapted by Giorgio Amitrano. In the same year, A night in May by Abraham Yeoshua for the Teatro Due di Parma.
In 2009 he directed I pretendenti by Jean-Luc Lagarce and Il gatto con gli stivali, una recita continuamente interrotta by Ludwig Tieck, both for the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. 2010 saw stagings of Details by Lars Norén for the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Pocket Shakespeare for Teatro Due di Parma, and Phaedra by Euripides for the Istituto del Dramma Antico di Siracusa.
In the 2010/2011 season he staged the following plays: Buio by Sonia Antinori for Teatro Due di Parma, Avevo un bel pallone rosso by Angela Dematté for the Stabile di Bolzano, Nathan the wise by Lessing for the Piccolo di Milano and Medea by Cherubini for the Ponchielli di Cremona.
In the 2011/2012 he directed Hoffmansthal's Elekra for the Teatro Stabile del Veneto and Bellini's I puritanti for the Circuito Lirico Lombardo. In 2012, Shakespeare's Julius Caesar for the Piccolo Teatro di Milano and The white rose by Lillian Groag for the Stabile di Bolzano.
Among his latest works, L'officina by Angela Dematté for the Stabile di Bolzano (2013), Despoiled Shore Medea Material Landscape with Argonauts by Müller (for Proxima Res, 2012), Chi resta by Cavosi/Dematté/Gabrielli/Rifici (2013).
At the Piccolo he staged Visit to the Father, the first production in Italy by the German contemporary playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig.
He is a teacher of Acting and script analysis for the specialization course for actors at the Università per le Arti Visive di Venezia, and for the Regional Courses for Actors of the Valle d'Aosta. He has also held the role of Didactic Coordinator for the Preparatory Course for Dramatic Arts at the Teatro Litta di Milano. He is the artistic director of the Associazione Proxima Res. In 2005 he won the Critics' Award as emergent director. In 2009 he received the Eti Olimpici del Teatro Award as best director of the year, The Critics' Award, the Golden Graal and a nomination for the Ubu award again as best director of the year. In 2013 he again won the Golden Graal (Elektra) and the Teatro del sacro competition (Chi resta).
On 8 May 2015 he was nominated artistic director of LuganoInScena and is currently director of the Luca Ronconi School of Theatre at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano.