At the end of XIXth century, Domenico Mansuino Sr. moved from south of Piemonte to south of France, and then to the Italian Riviera. He established in Sanremo around 1880 and started two very different, and at the same time both very creative, activities: he established a photo studio in the city center and he bought land on the hills where he decided to grow cut flowers.
At the beginning of the XXth century Sanremo developed a sparkling flower production, both outdoors in open fields and also in wooden greenhouses. The flower production became very successful thanks to the railway that enabled growers to ship their fresh flowers to the north of Europe and even to the far Russia. Domenico was not aware that he was the beginner of a “flower legacy” that continued through four generations until today! 


It is not easy to describe in few words an influential and genial personality as Quinto. His story is simple, his impact on the italian and global floriculture is complex. His father Domenico was a professional photographer, and the destiny of Quinto seemed to be written already. He served during the First World War as army photographer, and after the war he came back home and joined his father in the photo studio in Sanremo. But he was soon attracted by the secondary business of his family, a small flower farm on the hills of Sanremo. And that’s where he decided to move in the early ‘20s, to live in the countryside and to grow and hybridize flowers. His life could never have been different, he followed his dreams. He worked his whole life on genetic improvement of many crops, but he definitely made the difference on two main ones in particular: roses and carnations.

He’s acknowledged as creator of an innovative series of miniature roses for cut flower, known as Roses Mansuiniane, and he established elaborated inter specific breeding lines in the same crop that a.o. produced a very famous Rosa Banksia inter specific hybrid called “Purezza”. And he’s especially renowned as the initiator of a new breeding line of carnations, that have been later continued and developed further by his pupils (especially his nephew Nobbio, his wife Nicoletta Baratta and many others): the “Mediterranean” carnation, today known as “standard” carnation. On all the crops he worked, he used to start original breeding lines back from wild species, and for his passion and creativity he’s regarded as the father of the Italian genetic improvement on cut flower crops.


After a degree in pharmaceutical chemistry, in the second half of the fifties he joined the carnations and roses breeding company of his uncle Quinto, where he remained as director until his retirement in the eighties. Shy and creative, he teamed with his sisters Ada and Mary in the development of the family’s international business. He was one of the founding members of CIOPORA in Geneva, in March 1961.

GIACOMO NOBBIO (1925-2005)

Giacomo “Mimmo” Nobbio was the son of a sister of Quinto Mansuino. He graduated in Agronomy at the Turin University after the second World War and then he joined his uncle Quinto in the breeding company in Sanremo. He soon became a carnation breeding specialist and after some years decided to leave his uncle’s company, to establish one of his own. He got married with Nicoletta Baratta, and together they started a business that in few years became the worldwide leading carnation breeding operation. They picked up uncle Quinto’s ideas and knowledge, and developed further into a highly professional development of the standard carnation lines, thus obtaining international fame and success. “Mimmo” was a very shy person, indeed, but his passion for carnations could turn him into an enthusiastic leader, so that many others around him were involved in his passion and learned his breeding methods and philosophy. Thanks to his vision and skills, Sanremo for many years has been considered as the craddle of standard carnations research at global level! 

A breeders’ summit at Mansuino Farm, Sanremo 1956. 

Our family has been active in growing and breeding flowers for more than a century. This historical pic shows a group of flower breeders visiting the rose selection trial fields at our farm on the hills of Sanremo. We believe that those breeders summits have been the background for the foundation of CIOPORA, the international association of breeders of ornamentals and fruit, which was established in Geneva in 1961 on initiative of the French breeder Meilland and of the Italian breeders association ANFI. 

From left to right: Harry Wheatcroft, Vittorio Barni, Quinto Mansuino, Sidney Hutton, Ada Mansuino, Domenico Aicardi and Alain Meilland. 

ADA MANSUINO (1914-1995) and MARY MANSUINO (1913-1993)

Quinto had two nieces, Ada and Mary, who have been very active in the breeding and in the commercial relations of the Mansuino breeding business. They were both very creative. Ada played violin, could speak four foreign languages, loved painting, comics and art. Mary played piano, could speak three foreign languages, and had a deep knowledge of plants. For many years they have been involved in breeding roses and carnations, though they were seldom acknowledged for their work just because they were women in a men’s business. In this nice picture taken in the early seventies, they are together with Eva Mameli, who, together with her husband Mario Calvino, was an international well known botanist and whose son Italo has been one of the most prominent Italian novelists of the second half of the XIX century.