The Doria Pamphilj Archive in Rome is a distinguished example of historical archive, being an important documentary complex not only for civil history (meaning above all the history of feudal property), but also for political and religious history.

It was formed to hold documents relative to the history and affairs of the family, but is now an asset of national character, on account of the role which the Doria and the Pamphilj played in the history of the Italian peninsula. The Dichiarazione di notevole interesse storico (Declaration of Notable Historical Interest) issued in 1965 by the Soprintendenza Archivistica per il Lazio is proof of this.

Paper and parchment documents produced between the eleventh and twentieth centuries constitute the heterogeneous basis of the archive, which was formed in Genoa on the initiative of Andrea I Doria (1466-1560), the Genoese admiral who from 1528 offered his galleys to the Spanish crown in exchange for money and navigation privileges (asiento).

Andrea became Prince of Melfi in 1531, by the hand of Charles V, and was able to transmit to his grandson, Giovanni Andrea I (1540-1606) the title and the role in Spanish politics in the Mediterranean. Nominated General of the Sea in 1583, Giannandrea became Counsellor of State at Madrid (1594). There are many episodes in European history featuring in the documents which saw him as protagonist, such as the Battle of Lepanto (1571).

Although the transfer of the commercial axis onto the Atlantic marked the decline of the galleys as means of transport, the members of the family remained active in European politics.

Giovanni Andrea II Doria (1570-1612) enhanced the archive with the Landi Trust, which came into the family thanks to his marriage with Maria Polissena (1608-1679), sole heiress of Federico Landi, prince of Valditaro and lord of Bardi and Compiano. The Landi archive was transferred to Genova in 1682, when the family was forced to sell its possessions to the Farnese. To this trust belong the 3000 Latin parchments, the oldest of which dates back to the eleventh century. It is a diploma with which the Emperor Ludovico II renews the concessions and confirms the properties belonging to the monastery of S. Colombano di Bobbio (2 February 863).

The Pamphilj, Roman princes originating in Gubbio, owed much of their fortune to shrewd marriages, from when Pamphilio Pamphilj married, in 1612, Olimpia Maidalchini (1592/4-1657), a rich widow, who, with her patrimony, was able to help her brother-in-law, Giovan Battista (1574-1655), to undertake a religious career.
He was nuncio to Naples (1621) and to Madrid (1626), and was appointed cardinal with the title of S. Eusebio in 1629; he then went on to become pope in 1644, with the name of Innocent X. The meddling of Olimpia in the politics of the time is testified by the pontifical papers and documents, held in the archive together
with the records of the Maidalchini family.

In 1647 Camillo Pamphilj senior (1622-66), eldest son of Olimpia Maidalchini and nephew of the pope, married Olimpia Aldobrandini junior (1632-81), universal heiress of the Aldobrandini family patrimony. Amongst the most interesting documents in the Fondo Aldobrandini are the papers of Cardinals Pietro and Cinzio Aldobrandini, Secretaries of State to Clement VIII (1592-1605), and of Olimpia Aldobrandini senior (1567-1637) with her daughter, Margherita, wife of Ranuccio I Farnese, who, from 1622, was regent of the dukedom of Parma, together with his brother-in-law, Cardinal Odoardo Farnese.

The presence in the archive of a corpus of parchments in Latin and Greek, from the Archimandrite monastery of saints Elia and Anastasio at Carbone derive from Olimpia senior. The monastery was founded in the tenth century by S. Luca di Armento, suppressed by the French government in 1809, and formed part of the diocese of Rossano Calabro, of which Olimpia was princess.

Another distinguished match, celebrated in 1671 between Giovan Battista Pamphilj (1648-1709) and Violante Facchinetti (1649-1716), brought into the archive the Fondo Facchinetti, which has made possible the clarification of the provenance of some of the important pictures in the collection, such as Susannah and the Elders, now attributed to Annibale Carracci.