Bertolucci will receive the prize at Venice's closing night ceremony on Sept 8, just before the announcement of the Golden Lion winner.
At this year's edition, Bertolucci's 1966 oil-business themed documentary La via del petrolio and his 1970 Venice entry The Spider's Stratagem (Strategia del ragno) will be shown in versions restored by Italy's Cineteca Nazionale.
Venice Film Festival director Marco Mueller said of Bertolucci: 'His films are at the same time declarations of love for cinema and manifestations of future utopias that are born out of those of the past. In its 75th anniversary, the Venice Film Festival needed Bernardo Bertolucci in order to reread its own story and to think of its own future.'
Arguably Italy's best known director, Bertolucci's 40-year relationship with the Venice Film Festival began with his first experiences in film making: in 1961 he participated with an assistant director credit on Accattone, Pier Paolo Pasolini's gritty first film about a Roman pimp. In 1962, Bertolucci presented his directorial debut La commare secca (The Grim Reaper), about the murder of a prostitute.
He has also presented Partner (1968), The Spider's Stratagem (1970), La Luna (1979) and The Dreamers (2003) at Venice while a documentary entitled Cinema According to Bertolucci by Gianni Amelio was shown there in 2000.
In 1983 Bertolucci served as competition jury president the year that Jean Luc Godard's Prenom Carmen took the Golden Lion.
Bertolucci is currently working on an English-language film abandoned eight years ago on Gesualdo da Venosa, a 16th century nobleman, musician and murderer.
The 64th edition of the Venice Film Festival takes place during Venice's 75th Jubilee year and runs Aug 29-Sept 8.