Here starts the visit to the wonderful rooms of Villa del Principe, a real journey throughout history in quest of the absolute wonder of European Renaissance. All you need to do is overstep the ancient portal, cross the entrance hall with its wonderful frescoes and wind up, step by step, on the huge set of stairs to find your self catapulted in an era of riches, arts, battles, overlords, princes, emperors, and dames.
- Facade and Portal
- The ancient access to the villa was through the stately portal that stands out on Via San Benedetto, on the north Facade of the complex, for which a fresco decoration on Pierin del Vaga’s sketch was planned (but never realized) representing the chase of the Gallic from Rome by the hand of Furio Camillo. This should have alluded to the fight off of the French from Genoa in 1528. The portal was build between 1531 and 1533 from Silvio Cosini (Pisa 1495 approximately post 1549) who carved the two allegoric figures of Peace and Abundance on the sides of the Doria’s Coat of arms and the war trophies on the pedestals, and by Giovanni da Fiesole who developed the “di quadro” section. Both artists followed the planning sketch by Perin del Vaga. The portal leans away from the perimeter wall, featuring two free lateral columns over arched by a curving tympanum: this structure, imported from Rome and different from the usual “flat” portals in use in Genoa in ‘400 and in the first part of ‘500, became a model and was immediately imitated from local artisans and workers.
- Entrance hall
- The ceiling of the entrance hall displays the name of Perin del Vaga and the date 1530 in the central part of the rose window, joint to the name of Annibale Angelini who restored the villa’s frescoes in 1845. In the fanlights hardly visible at the moment, are represented the events of Rome’s seven kings; In the plumes are represented ancient divinities, on the lower side of the arches gods of winds. In the four panels of the ceiling are painted three moments of triumph that ancient Rome’s general Lucio Emilio Paolo had over the Gallic chasing them from Liguria (another allusion to the chase of the French from Genoa to whom Doria had participated), and the triumph of Bacchus in India, allegory of the pacification of the city. On the walls are fixed-in marble bas-reliefs representing pairs of little angels holding ancient war trophies, sculptured by Giovannangelo Montorsoli for Saint Mathew, Dorias family church. The bas-reliefs were transferd to the current location in 1613.
- The staircase
- The staircase shows on the vault of the first flight a geometric paneled decoration and small grottesque inspired to the ceilings of the “Domus Aurea”. This decorative complex, praised from Vasari in his opera “Vite”, was re-discovered under the cover-up painting realized from Angelini in the middle of the sixteenth century and partially restored with a complexed restoration procedure(part of the chromatic matter has been lost) concluded in 1999.