Giovanni Andrea I Doria
Giovanni Andrea I (Genoa 1540-1606) was son of Giannettino Doria-designated heir of the great Andrea who did not have direct descendant and of Ginetta Centurione. Starting from 1547, when Giannettino was killed during the Fieschi’s conspiracy, the old Andrea took charge of the education of the kid, designed at the succession after his father’s death. When he was eight Giovanni Andrea was brought on the galleys to accustom him to the life on the sea and to his future Admiral role. To guard the solidity of the heritage and the influence of the family, when The Doria was ten years old, marriage pacts were established, uniting him with Zenobia del Carretti, nephew in-law of Andrea; The union determined for dynastic reasons was however characterized by sincere affection, proved by the redaction of the will of Giovanni Andrea, who required to be buried holding in his hand a lock of hair of his wife “Madam and real Friend” (Borghesi 1996). At the death of Andrea (1560) Giovanni Andrea inherited the villa of Fasolo, the nobility titles and the galleys. For almost half a century he fought at sea serving the Spanish crown and often battled against the Barbary Corsairs. In Lepanto (1571) he commanded the right wing of the fleet that, under the orders of Don Giovanni D’Austria, inferred a great defeat to the Turks (in that occasion he received heavy critics from his Venetian allies). In 1583 Filippo II nominated him Supreme Captain of the Mediterranean’s Fleet, in 1594 he became member of the Spanish’s State Council. He held an important role in the Genoese state in which he was considered a reference point from the Spanish. In December of 1601 the senate accorded him with special honours, between which the conferring of the title of “patriae libertatis conservator” and the erection of a celebratory statue. His fortune, a lot greater than the one inherited from Andrea, was so vast to have him defined, in that same year1601, “rich above every excellency of Italy and hated from everybody except the king”; at his death he was evaluated 1.620.000 scudi. His real estate properties were remarkable: Besides the villa of Fassolo, from him expanded and enriched with new decorations, Giovanni Andrea owned the Doria Villa in Pegli, a monumental building in Strada Nuova (Palazzo Tursi, actual municipal building of Genoa) and two houses in the medieval curia of the Doria, piazza San Matteo. Above that there were the several feuds: the state of Melfi, in which he held the title of Prince, Loano and the Apennine feuds. Exponent, along with his wife Zenobia, Of the Counter-Reformation catholic devotion, following the dictate of the Apostolic Visitor Bossi, the Doria founded and renewed and provided various religious buildings: thanks to him the Church of San Benedetto, next to the Villa del Principe, was expanded and restored; he founded the monastery of the Sacred Spirit in Genoa and in Loano the church and convent of Sant’Agostino, and the Carmelo complex, finished by his son Giovanni Andrea II; as well as the creation in the Fassolo Villa of various chapels that start the theme of sacred decorations of the villa. Giovanni Andrea was able to realize completely the ambitious project of introducing his family in the network of the great European Nobility. He received in the Villa del Principe the Duke of Brunswick (1578) the Duchess of Lorena (1579) and other important characters. During his last years of life he wrote his autobiography that remained unfinished, but was an important source of information on the events of Genoa and of Spain at the time.