He studied agricultural sciences at the University of Bologna. From 1925 to 1932, he was based in the Dominican Republic, where he helped establish an experimental agricultural station in Santiago de los Caballeros for studies of cassava. While in Latin America, he also conducted research of diseases affecting cacao in Ecuador. In 1934–35 he was stationed in Italian Somaliland, performing organizational work involving agrarian services.
A prolific writer, he was the author of well over a 1000 published works on subjects that included mycology, plant pathology and physiology, microbiology, virology, lichenology, the systematics of cultivated plants, agronomy, and the history of botany. Species that contain the epithet of ciferrii are named in his honor.
- "Micoflora Domingensis", 1929.
- I Cereali dell'Africa Italiana, 1939 – Cereals of Italian Africa.
- Fisiologia vegetale e piante agrarie, 1943 – Plant physiology and agricultural plants.
- Manuale di patologia vegetale, 1952 – Manual of plant physiology.
- "Thesaurus literaturae mycologicae et lichenologicae", 1957.
- Manuale di micologia medica, 1958 – Manual of medical mycology.
- "Bibliographia mycopathologica, 1800-1940", 1958.
- Il cacao e la sua evoluzione, 1963 – Cacao and its evolution.