Saraceno obtained her degree in Economics at the Bocconi University in 1969 and specialised in development economics at Cambridge, UK. She joined IRS in 1976 where she directed, promoted, and was in charge of research on macroeconomic, fiscal policy and forecasting. In 1999, she set up Osservatorio Energia and began to promote further research into regulation and liberalisation of the energy sector. She worked in IRS as director for more than 20 years, becoming President between 1998 and 2000.
From 2000 to 2012 she became CEO of REF, a spin-off of IRS. In 2012 the activity and consultancy on Energy and Environment were based in the new company renamed REF-E where she has been president since its foundation.
She was a member, as independent, of the Board of Directors of Snam from 2013 to 2016.
She has participated in the academic life for many years, giving course of Political Economy at Bergamo University and several course in number of different universities. In her latest experience she has been teaching Economy of Energy and management of environment at the Catholic University of Milan.