Doge of Genoa

The Doge of Genoa (Ligurian: Dûxe, pronounced [ˈdyːʒe]; Latin: Januensium dux et populi defensor, "Commander of the Genoese and Defender of the People") was the ruler of the Republic of Genoa, a communal republic, from 1339 until the state's extinction in 1797. Originally elected for life, after 1528 the Doges were elected for terms of two years.[1] In actuality, the Republic (or Dogate) was an oligarchy ruled by a small group of merchant families, from whom the doges were selected.


The first Doge of Genoa, Simone Boccanegra (Ligurian: Scimón Boccanéigra), whose name is kept alive by Verdi's opera, was appointed by public acclaim in 1339. Initially the Doge of Genoa was elected without restriction and by popular suffrage, holding office for life in the so-called "perpetual dogate"; but after the reform effected by Andrea Doria in 1528 the term of his office was reduced to two years. At the same time plebeians were declared ineligible, and the appointment of the doge was entrusted to the members of the great council, the Gran Consiglio, who employed for this purpose a political system almost as complex as that of the later Venetians.[2]

The Palazzo Pubblico, where the Doges had formerly presided, was expanded in 1388 to accommodate the new ruler and style of government, the first of a series of radical reconstructions. It was renamed Palazzo Ducale and magnificently rebuilt in the 16th century. Until recently the palazzo housed courts, but it now functions as Genoa's cultural centre.

Of all the "perpetual" doges of Genoa who ruled for their lifetime, only one ruled for more than eight years. Many resigned or were driven out before taking office. Some failed to complete a single day in power. Between 1339 and 1528, only four Doges were legally elected. Genoa did not trust its Doges; the ruling caste of Genoa tied them to executive committees, kept them on a small budget, and kept them apart from the communal revenues held at the "Casa di San Giorgio". Not surprisingly, the Doges of Genoa have been less renowned than the doges of Venice.

Still, the position of Doge stood at the head of state patronage, and the city's inner group of leading merchant families vied with each other to place their man in the position. Rival elections were known to take place within the building. In 1389, a frustrated candidate made a surprise return from enforced exile accompanied by 7,000 supporters, and after dining amicably with the incumbent, politely but firmly ejected him, thanking him for serving so ably as his deputy during his own "unavoidable absence" from Genoa.

For generations two powerful families in Genoa all but monopolized the dogate: the Adorno, supporters of imperial power in the Middle Ages, and the Campofregoso or Fregoso, supporters of papal power. Tomaso di Campofregoso became Doge three times: in 1415, 1421 and 1437. In 1461, Paolo Fregoso, archbishop of Genoa, enticed the current doge to his own palace, held him hostage and offered him the choice of retiring from the post or being hanged. When Fregoso was in due course himself toppled, he fled to the harbour, commandeered four galleys and launched himself on a whole new career as a pirate. While the doge's palace in Venice accumulated great furnishings and works of art over the years, in Genoa, each Doge was expected to arrive with his own furnishings and, when he left, to strip the palace to its bare walls.

Genoa's power peaked early, and it was eclipsed by Venice. In the 16th century, the republic enjoyed a dramatic revival under the leadership of the admiral, statesman and patron of the arts Andrea Doria who ruled the state as a virtual dictator but never actually became doge. It was through the Spanish empire in the New World that Genoa became rich again. Doria served the Spanish Habsburgs as admiral-in-chief, and the bankers of Genoa handled Spain's financial business, which vastly enriched Genoa's banking oligarchy.

The Napoleonic Wars put an end to the office of Doge of Genoa. In 1797, when Napoleon Bonaparte incorporated Genoa into the newly organized Ligurian Republic, French soldiers and the city's mob ransacked the Doge's palace.

List of Doges of Genoa

Lifetime office-holders

Doges elected for two years

From 1528 to 1599

12 October 15284 January 1530Oberto Cattaneo Lazzari
4 January 15314 January 1533Battista Spinola
4 January 15334 January 1535Battista Lomellini
4 January 15354 January 1537Cristoforo Rosso Grimaldi
4 January 15374 January 1539Giovanni Battista Doria
4 January 15394 January 1541Giannandrea Lungo Giustiniani
4 January 15414 January 1543Leonardo Cattaneo della Volta
4 January 15434 January 1545Andrea Centurione Pietrasanta
4 January 15454 January 1547Giovanni Battista De Fornari
4 January 15474 January 1549Benedetto Gentile Pevere
4 January 15494 January 1551Gaspare Grimaldi Bracelli
4 January 15514 January 1553Luca Spinola
4 January 15534 January 1555Giacomo Promontorio
4 January 15554 January 1557Agostino Pinello Ardimenti
4 January 15573 December 1558Pietro Giovanni Chiavica CiboDied in office.
4 January 15594 January 1561Girolamo Vivaldi
4 January 156127 September 1561Paolo Battista Giudice CalviDied in office.
4 October 15614 October 1563Battista Cicala Zoaglio
7 October 15637 October 1565Giovanni Battista Lercari
11 October 156511 October 1567Odorico Ottavio Gentile
15 October 15673 October 1569Simone Spinola
6 October 15696 October 1571Paolo Giustiniani Moneglia
10 October 157110 October 1573Gianotto Lomellini
16 October 157317 October 1575Giacomo Durazzo Grimaldi
17 October 157517 October 1577Prospero Centurione Fattinanti
19 October 157719 October 1579Giovanni Battista Gentile Pignolo
20 October 157920 October 1581Nicolò Doria
21 October 158121 October 1583Gerolamo De Franchi Toso
4 November 15834 November 1585Gerolamo Chiavari
8 November 158513 November 1587Ambrogio Di Negro
14 November 158714 November 1589Davide Vacca or Vaccari
20 November 158915 November 1591Battista Negrone
27 November 159126 November 1593Gio. Agostino Campi Giustiniani
27 November 159326 November 1595Antonio Cebà Grimaldi
5 December 15954 December 1597Matteo Senarega
7 December 159715 February 1599Lazzaro Cebà Grimaldi

From 1599 to 1650

22 February 159921 February 1601Lorenzo Sauli
24 February 160125 February 1603Agostino Doria
26 February 160327 February 1605Pietro (Sacco) De Franchi
1 March 16052 March 1607Luca (De Castro) Grimaldi
3 March 160717 March 1607Silvestro Invrea
22 March 160723 March 1609Gerolamo Assereto
1 April 16092 April 1611Agostino Luciani Pinello
6 April 16116 April 1613Alessandro Longo Giustiniani
21 April 161321 April 1615Tomaso Spinola
25 April 161525 April 1617Bernardo Clavarezza
25 April 161729 April 1619Giovanni Giacomo (Tartaro) Imperiale
2 May 16192 May 1621Pietro Durazzo
4 May 162112 June 1621Ambrogio DoriaDied in office.
22 June 162122 June 1623Giorgio Centurione
25 June 162316 June 1625Federico De Franchi Toso
16 June 162525 June 1627Giacomo Lomellini
28 June 162728 June 1629Giovanni Luca Chiavari
26 June 162926 June 1631Andrea Spinola
30 June 163130 June 1633Leonardo Della Torre
5 July 16335 July 1635Giovanni Stefano Doria
11 July 163511 July 1637Gio. Francesco Brignole Sale
13 July 163713 July 1639Agostino Pallavicini
28 July 163928 July 1641Giovanni Battista Durazzo
14 August 164119 June 1642Giovanni Agostino De MariniDied in office.
4 July 16424 July 1644Giovanni Battista Lercari
21 July 164421 July 1646Luca Giustiniani
24 July 164624 July 1648Giovanni Battista Lomellini
1 August 16481 August 1650Giacomo De Franchi Toso

From 1650 to 1699

23 August 165023 August 1652Agostino Centurione
8 September 16528 September 1654Gerolamo De Franchi Toso
9 October 16549 October 1656Alessandro Spinola
12 October 165612 October 1658Giulio Sauli
15 October 165815 October 1660Giovani Battista Centurione
28 October 166022 March 1661Gian Bernardo FrugoniDied in office.
28 March 166129 March 1663Antoniotto Invrea
13 April 166312 April 1665Stefano De Mari
18 April 166518 April 1667Cesare Durazzo
10 May 166710 May 1669Cesare Gentile
18 June 166918 June 1671Francesco Garbarino
27 June 167127 June 1673Alessandro Grimaldi
5 July 16734 July 1675Agostino Saluzzo
11 July 167511 July 1677Antonio Da Passano
16 July 167716 July 1679Giannettino Odone
29 July 167929 July 1681Agostino Spinola
13 August 168113 August 1683Luca Maria Invrea
18 August 168318 August 1685Francesco Maria Lercari Imperiale
23 August 168523 August 1687Pietro Durazzo
27 August 168727 August 1689Luca Spinola
31 August 16891 September 1691Oberto Della Torre
4 September 16915 September 1693Giovanni Battista Cattaneo
9 September 16939 September 1695Francesco Invrea
16 September 169516 September 1697Bendinelli Negrone
19 September 169726 May 1699Francesco Maria SauliDied in office.

From 1699 to 1750

3 June 16993 June 1701Girolamo De Mari
7 June 17017 June 1703Federico De Franchi Toso
1 August 17031 August 1705Antonio Cebà Grimaldi
22 August 170522 August 1707Stefano Onorato Ferreti
9 September 17079 September 1709Domenico Maria De Mari
14 September 170914 September 1711Vincenzo Durazzo
22 September 171122 September 1713Francesco Maria Imperiale
22 September 171322 September 1715Giovanni Antonio Giustiniani
26 September 171526 September 1717Lorenzo Centurione
30 September 171730 September 1719Benedetto Viale
4 October 17194 October 1721Ambrogio Imperiale
8 October 17218 October 1723Cesare De Franchi Toso
13 October 172313 October 1725Domenico Negrone
18 January 172618 January 1728Gerolamo Veneroso
22 January 172822 January 1730Luca Grimaldi
20 January 173020 January 1732Francesco Maria Balbi
29 January 173229 January 1734Domenico Maria Spinola
3 February 17343 February 1736Stefano Durazzo
7 February 17367 February 1738Nicolò Cattaneo
7 February 17387 February 1740Costantini Balbi
16 February 174016 February 1742Nicolò Spinola
20 February 174220 February 1744Domenico Canevaro
1 February 17441 February 1746Lorenzo De Mari
3 March 17463 March 1748Gian Francesco Brignole Sale II
6 March 17486 March 1750Cesare Cattaneo Della Volta

From 1750 to 1797

10 March 175010 March 1752Agostino Viale
28 March 17527 June 1752Stefano LomelliniAbdicated
7 June 17527 June 1754Giovanni Battista Grimaldi
23 June 175423 June 1756Gian Giacomo Veneroso
22 June 175622 June 1758Giovanni Giacomo Grimaldi
22 August 175822 August 1760Matteo Franzoni
22 September 176010 September 1762Agostino Lomellini
25 November 176225 November 1764Rodolfo Giulio Brignole Sale
29 January 176529 January 1767Francesco Maria Della Rovere
3 February 17673 February 1769Marcello Durazzo
16 February 176916 February 1771Giovanni Battista Negrone
16 April 177116 April 1773Giovanni Battista Cambiaso
7 January 17739 January 1773Ferdinando Spinola
26 January 177326 January 1775Pier Franco Grimaldi
31 January 177531 January 1777Brizio Giustiniani
4 February 17774 February 1779Giuseppe Lomellini
4 March 17794 March 1781Giacomo Maria Brignole
8 March 17818 March 1783Marco Antonio Gentile
6 May 17836 May 1785Giovanni Battista Airoli
6 June 17856 June 1787Gian Varlo Pallavicino
4 July 17874 July 1789Raffaele De Ferrari
30 July 178930 July 1791Alerame Maria Pallavicini
3 September 17913 September 1793Michelangelo Cambiaso
16 September 179316 September 1795Giuseppe Maria Doria
17 November 179517 November 1797Giacomo Maria BrignoleFinal Genoese Doge. Position abolished after Napoleon annexed Genoa.


  1. Chisholm 1911.
  2.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Doge". Encyclopædia Britannica. 8 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 380.
  3. Steven Epstein. Genoa and the Genoese. p. 243
  4. expelled from office by Paolo Fregoso, Archbishop of Genoa.
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