The son of a hotel owner in Venice, Bertaggia raced karts in his youth and began car racing in 1985 when he jumped straight into Formula 3 with a Ralt chassis. He showed sufficiently well to win a drive with the Venturini team in 1986 but it was not until he switched to Forti Corse in 1987 that he really made an impression, dominating the Italian Championship. He moved to Formula 3000 in 1988 with Forti but the program was not a success and in 1989 he went back to Formula 3 and won the Monaco Formula 3 Grand Prix. In August that year he was given the chance to race in F1 by Coloni but he qualified only once. At the end of the year he won another major F3 victory at Macau but he was never able to revive his flagging career.