Among the beautiful features of the Villa are the splendid gardens in style with the importance of this home. They face the sea to the south, and in the north are made up of a series of terraces that rise with the steep Granarolo hill. An initial landscape project for the garden spaces was entrusted to Perino del Vaga, including the Fountain of the Dolphins, created by Silvio Cosini and based on a design by Perino. Later, Andrea Doria turned to Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli for the arrangement of the northern garden (which no longer exists) and the sculpture of the Satyr riding a dolphin which is still visible today in the southern garden.
Andrea Doria’s heir, Giovanni Andrea I, with the help of his architect Giovanni Ponzello, carried out the final stage of this monumental project. The most spectacular element commissioned by Andrea Doria was a splendid aviary in which peacocks, pheasants and rare birds lived and nested. At the end of the sixteenth century, the Fountain of Neptune was built by Taddeo Carlone; it remains the key element of the Italian garden to this day.
In the centuries that followed, the garden underwent several interventions and modifications that changed its appearance. In the 1630s, the construction of the sea walls by the Republic blocked the view from the loggia built at the time of Andrea Doria, overlooking the sea from the southern garden. A progressive state of decline began in the 1860s, in conjunction with the transfer of the main residence of the Doria Pamphilj family to Rome.
During the nineteenth century, Prince Filippo Andrea V and his wife Mary Talbot started to refurbish the garden according to the Romantic “English style”, which eliminated the typical symmetry of the Italian garden, with a preference for winding avenues. The northern garden was partly destroyed during the middle of the century due to the construction of the Genoa-Turin railway line and the excavation of the Granarolo hill, and the consequent densely built area.
The twentieth century brought a widespread series of works that profoundly changed the area surrounding the Villa del Principe, starting with the construction of the new Maritime Station, Via Adua (1930s) and the elevated roadway (1962-65). In 1944 the bombings of the Second World War caused considerable destruction both in the palace and garden.
The present-day gardens are the result of a conservation project which has recovered the shape of the sixteenth-century garden during the period of greatest official exposure for the Villa and the Doria family.
Come and discover the wonderful gardens in the Villa!