PONZELLO, Giovanni
(active 1549-1596 in Genoa)


Italian architect, born in Caravonica, near Oneglia, Liguria. Giovanni and his brother Domenico Ponzello (active 1548-1571) practiced primarily in Genoa in the second half of the 16th century.

Giovanni received commissions for Genoese suburban villas, including one for Paolo Spinola at Cornigliano (1559-63, altered) and one for Vincenzo Imperiale at San Pier d'Arena (1560-63). Giovanni's Villa Imperiale, known as La Bellezza (now the Istituto Casaregis), continued Alessi's Roman villa style in Genoa by placing the building block on the main axis at the head of a formal garden affording views of the sea.

Domenico was involved in the workshop of Galeazzo Alessi at Carignano (1555-56) during construction of the Sauli family's church of Santa Maria Assunta. He was then sent to Corsica by the Genoese Republic in 1560 to strengthen the fortifications at Recco and other outposts. Shortly afterwards he entered the service of the Duke of Savoy to rebuild forts at Montealbano and Villafranca (near Nice).

Domenico and Giovanni collaborated on the monumental Palazzo Grimaldi (now the Municipio) built for Niccolò Grimaldi between 1565 and 1575 on the Strada Nuova (now Via Garibaldi), Genoa.

Giovanni's later commissions included the addition of end-loggias to Giovanni Andrea Doria's Genoese suburban villa in Fassolo and the expansion and systematization of its gardens (1577-80). For the Villa Doria (1575) at Loano, Giovanni again designed end-loggias and formal terraced gardens. While serving as Architetto Camerale to the Genoese Republic from 1576 until 1596, he planned and cleared the Piazza Soziglia (1578) and modernized the Darsena (Arsenal) and Molo, all in Genoa.