Témoignage de John Evelyn (1644)

There are nume­rous other palaces of par­ti­cu­lar curio­si­ties, for the mar­chands being very rich, have, like our neigh­bours the Hol­lan­ders, lit­tle or no extent of ground to employ their estates in ; as those in pic­tures and han­gings, so these lay it out on marble houses and rich fur­ni­ture. One of the grea­test here for cir­cuit is that of the Prince Doria, which reaches from the sea to the sum­mit of the moun­tains. The house is most magni­fi­cent­ly built without, nor less glo­rious­ly fur­ni­shed within, having whole tables1 and bed­steads of mas­sy sil­ver, many of them set with agates, onyxes, cor­ne­lians, lazu­lis, pearls, tor­quoises, and other pre­cious stones. The pic­tures and sta­tues are innu­me­rable. To this palace belong three gar­dens, the first whe­reof is beau­ti­fied with a ter­race, sup­por­ted by pillars of marble : there is a foun­tain of eagles, and one of Nep­tune, with other sea-gods, all of the purest white marble ; they stand in a most ample basin of the same stone. At the side of this gar­den is such an avia­ry as Sir Fran­cis Bacon des­cribes in his Ser­mones fide­lium, or Essays, whe­rein grow trees of more than two feet dia­me­ter, besides cypress, myrtles, len­tis­cuses, and other rare shrubs, which serve to nestle and perch all sorts of birds, who have air and place enough under their airy cano­py, sup­por­ted with huge iron work, stu­pen­dous for its fabric and the charge. The other two gar­dens are full of orange-trees, citrons, and pome­gra­nates, foun­tains, grots, and sta­tues. One of the lat­ter is a colos­sal Jupi­ter, under which is the sepulchre of a belo­ved dog, for the care of which one of this fami­ly recei­ved of the King of Spain 500 crowns a-year, during the life of that fai­th­ful ani­mal. The reser­voir of water here is a most admi­rable piece of art ; and so is the grot­to over against it.

We went hence to the Palace of the Dukes, where is also the Court of Jus­tice ; then to the Marchant’s Walk, rare­ly cove­red. Near2 the Ducal Palace we saw the public armou­ry, which was almost all new, most neat­ly kept and orde­red, suf­fi­cient for 30,000 men. We were sho­wed many rare inven­tions and engines of war pecu­liar to that armou­ry, as in the state when guns were first put in use.

1One of which, Las­sells says, wei­ghed 24,000 lbs. Voyage through Ita­ly, 1670, p. 94. 2Las­sells says, in the Palace.
(The dia­ry of John Eve­lyn, Ed. William Bray, J.M. DENT et E.P DULTON, Lon­don-New York, 1905, Tome I, p.86–87.)