The Prince Villa
Villa del Principe is the largest and most sumptuous sixteenth-century noble residence in Genoa. The construction work on the complex, which recovered and expanded a series of existing buildings in the area, began in 1521 at the behest of Andrea Doria, a talented admiral and legendary man of arms. After an interruption, the construction of the Palace resumed in 1528, the year in which Andrea passed into the service of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. The first cycle of the building's works ended in 1533, on the occasion of the visit to Italy of Charles V himself, who was welcomed in Genoa with great pomp and was housed in the admiral's residence.
The Villa, overlooking the sea and characterized by a large courtyard bordered by terraced arcades, follows the model of the porticoed dwellings typical of the Hellenistic-Roman tradition and taken up in the Renaissance period. Due to this feature, and more generally considering the entire complex, the building is unique in Genoese architecture of the period, suited to the exceptional role and figure of Andrea Doria.
The works of art that decorate Villa del Principe reveal the greatness of Admiral Andrea as the patron saint of the arts. He entrusted the decoration of his home to Pietro Bonaccorsi, known as Perin del Vaga, an artist who had already collaborated with Raphael in Rome, whose art was characterized by a cultured and refined language. The painter, protagonist of the Roman scene in the years preceding the Sack of Rome in 1527, created one of the most important Renaissance fresco cycles in northern Italy in the Villa. In addition to frescoes and stuccos, Perino designed tapestries, furnishings and sculptures, choosing themes drawn from ancient mythology and Roman history, through which he celebrated the figure of Doria, admiral, leader and “de facto lord” of Genoa.