Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti was born in Napels on the 26th of October 1685 as the sixth of ten children to parents Alessandro Scarlatti and Antonia Anzalone. Alessandro was already by then a famous composer. It is not clear who taught Domenico music. Perhaps it was Francesco Gasparini, Bernardo Pasquini or even Antonio Vivaldi during his time spent in Venice.
Alessandro the father was for a time nominated as director of music at the basilica Santa Maggiore of Rome, and during this period Domenico worked there as his assistant between 1708 and 1709.
While in Rome, Domenico was appointed to the court of the Polish queen Maria Casimira de la Grange d’Anguien, who was at the time in exile there. He wrote a number of vocal works for her, including the opera Tolomeo e Alessandro ovvero La corona disprezzata (1711). In 1713 Domenico was appointed firstly as assistant director of music at the Cappella Giulia of St. Peters in Rome, and subsequently in 1714 as director of music. It is possible that he wrote his ten part Stabat Mater for the Cappella. Notably during the period in which Domenico was working and studying in Rome, he wrote many vocal and orchestral works for both secular and church clients. In addition Domenico seemed to have been a gifted harpsichordist.
It was in these his younger years that Domenico met and became friends with G. F. Handel who was spending a number of years in Italy. Cardinal Ottoboni encouraged the two musicians to enter into a musical duel with each other, the result of which that Scarlatti was declared the best harpsichordist and Handel the best organist. The two composers had great respect for each other.