He is the son of the doctor and the psychologist Moritz Schiff and of Claudia Trier. He(it) is successively student at the university of Heidelberg then at the university of Zurich where he(it) obtains a doctorate in 1876. He will be then the teacher's aid of Stanislao Cannizzaro in Sapienza of Rome. In 1879, he is named Professor of chemistry to the University of Modena. He(it) occupies the pulpit of pharmaceutical chemistry to the University of Pisa from 1892.He studies the condensation of aldehydes and ammonia and heterocycles. He is interested in the Schiff's bases described by his uncle Hugo Schiff.