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.)