Giovanni Carlo Valentino Manzoni was born in 1855. He studied in Turin from the age of 20 to 29 training as a sculptor.
Following this training period he travelled for a short time in Europe and the United States, finally settling in London in 1885. He lived, and started a family, in the King's Road area of Chelsea, and was a neighbour of Conrad Dressler, co-founder of Della Robbia.
In 1893 he joined Dressler and Harold Rathbone at Della Robbia and the family moved to Birkenhead in 1894. This connection with Della Robbia was short-lived; possibly due to policy disagreements between the directors, Manzoni left the company in 1895 to form Minerva Art Ware Manufacturers, renting space in the Granville Pottery in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Here he had complete control of the choice of materials and glazes and established a good raport with his workers. In 1897, maybe due to rising overheads in Stoke, the company moved to the Coleorton Pottery in Lount, Leicestershire. A year later he left the company in the hands of his workers and returned to Della Robbia.
By this time, 1898, Dressler had left Della Robbia to start the Medmenham Pottery, and Manzoni's experience in running his own company seems to have heralded the arrival of a much more stable period in the history of Della Robbia. He stayed with Rathbone as chief artistic director until the company's closure in 1906. He died in 1910.