Ambrogio Spinola was born in Genoa in 1569, the son of Filippo Spinola of San Luca, son of Ambrogio, Marquis of Sesto and Venafro, Lord of Casalnoceto, and of Polissena Grimaldi, daughter of Nicolò, Prince of Salerno.
He was the Marquess of Los Balbases, Marquess of Sesto and Venafro, Duke of San Severino, Lord of Casalnoceto, General of the Spanish Army in Flanders, Governor of Milan, Knight of the order of the Toson D’Oro.

The Marquis Filippo died in the villa of Terralba in February 1584, leaving his sons Ambrogio, Federico, Lelia, Maria, Placidia and Maddalena as heirs. Their mother Polissena was essential in the education of her offspring and especially in the orientation of the careers of her two sons.…Polissena was blessed with naturally high spirits and as she was born in the magnitude and command of a great house and she was also treated with great respect by her husband, she had learned from both important traits and noble sentiments, that made her superior to those of her same sex, with a certain mix of genius, piety and virile spirit.
Polissena therefore instructed the two boys in fencing, horse riding and in chivalric exercises, insisting on history and mathematics for Ambrogio, who preferred those subjects, and on science for Federico who, even though inclined to military discipline, was destined, always apparently by maternal will, to an ecclesiastical career. For this reason he was sent to study law at the University of Salamanca, while Ambrogio remained in Genoa, continuing to prepare in mathematics and remaining alien to all kinds of “dangerous entertainment”. However, Frederico soon returned to Liguria and, formed by his brother, at the age of nineteen, went to fight in Flanders under the orders of Alessandro Farnese (entirely from

The profession of arms had already been chosen by his brother Federico and Ambrogio remained initially in the perspective of representing the head of the house. Nel 1587 Ambrogio Spinola married Giovanna Pallavicino Basadonne. On June 2 of that year, Giovanna, with the advice of her paternal grandmother Bartolomea, of her mother Pellina Doria and the magnificent Stefano Lomellini son of Augustine, Stefano De Franchi son of Nicolò, Stefano Giustiniani son of Paolo and Nicolò Invrea di Francesco, her tutors and curators pro tempore, she gave her entire heritage, inherited from her Grandfather Giacomo Pallavicino Basadonne , to her future husband as a dowry. In turn Ambrogio, who acted on the advice of his mother, Polisseno, and the magnificent Giorgio Doria, son of Melchione and Giorgio Spinola son of Luciano, guaranteed the preservation of the dowry with all of his own heritage, including the feudal property, inherited from his father, adding another 100 lire, The wedding between Giovanna and the marquis Ambrogio had a large resonance in the city, especially due to the extent of the bride’s dowry. From the notes of Giulio Pallavicino,it was finally concluded the union of the daughter of Giacomo Basiadonne with the marquis Ambrosio Spinola quondam Filipo, with 95 millia scutti of dowry.. On the following November 29 he wrote Marquis Ambrogio Spinola quondam Filippi married the daughter of Gio. Basadonne, marquis of Galara with 90 milli scutti, the best dowry that has ever given to a heir..
by Andrea Lercari).
After the marriage he intervened decisively in the political life of the city, constituting a faction opposed to that of Giovanni Andrea Doria (1539-1606). In 1597 he reached a notable result, managing to have Lazzaro Grimaldi Ceba (1520-1599, Doge in the years 1597-1599) elected and beating the candidate of the opposite side, Agostino Doria (1540-1607, Doge in the years 1601-1603).
In the last years of the 16th century, Ambrogio was preparing to move with his troops to Flanders. There are numerous notarial acts which, on the one hand, ratify agreements with sailors acquitted in the villages of the riviere and, on the other, concerning commissions of boats destined to enlarge the Spanish fleet, perhaps only with the function of logistical support.  Rare and occasional were the stays in Genoa of a man in constant movement between Spain and northern Europe and who in the city owned the inherited palazzo on the slope, a residence inadequate to his ambition. The fact that the house in the district of San Luca, was not adequate is confirmed by the failed attempt to purchase in 1596, the princely residence of Nicolò Grimaldi in Strada Nuova, the present town hall of Genoa. Through this operation, centred on a palazzo, Ambrogio tried to counter the growing power in the city of his antagonist, Prince Giovanni Andrea Doria, who managed to take possession of the property despite the opposition of Ambrogio who claimed a pre-emption as grandson of the palazzo’s builder. (Freely taken from “Palazzo Doria Spinola. Architettura ed arredi di una dimora aristocratica genovese, da un inventario del 1727″ by Roberto Santamaria, 2011 Recco (GE), Le Mani Editore, chapter II “Gli Spinola Duchi di San Pietro” edited by Andrea Lercari).
He then accelerated his decision to move on to a military career.
He rented the Palazzo dell’Acquasola for a period, still owned by Antonio Doria, who, probably on the intervention of Spinola himself, a very influential man in the city, in 1626 decided to sell to Giovanni Battista Spinola, Ambrogio’s brother-in-law having married his sister Maria and I Duke of San Pietro in Galatina.
He returned one last time to Genoa in 1628 to reach Milan where, from 1629, he assumed the position of Governor.

From a quote of Josè Louis Colomer : …his numerous successes are spoken of extensively in the chronicles of the time and in the repertoires of illustrious men …but perhaps more than the written word is the images that give us a more appropriate idea of the repercussion that at that time the campaigns of Ambrogio Spinola bought about and of the mythical stature that he reached in life. In fact, not only the political propaganda spread numerous engravings that publicized his victories but his own effigy and the most significant moments of his life were immortalized by the best artists of the time. It is unusual that in an age of patrons and great collectors a character who was not a monarch and whose passion for painting is not recognized, was portrayed by Rubens, Van Dyck and Velazquez…

From Pieter Paul Rubens’s epistolary, the Flemish master defines him as beingwithout taste for paintings and said that he does not understand more than anyone passing through the streetbut he shows great esteem and admiration for him he is the most prudent and sagacious man whom I have met , cautious in all his projects, not very communicative, but more out of fear of speaking too much than for lack of eloquence or ingenuity. I do not speak of his value, since it is well known to all, and I will only say that contrary to my first impression (I was initially wary of him, as he is Italian and Genoese) I have always found him to be a man of his word, honest and deserving of the most absolute trust. Two years after the death of Spinola he writes I have lost one of the best friends and protectors i had in the world.
entirely taken from Ambrogio Spinola: la fortuna iconografica di un genovese del Seicento of José Louis Colomer inGenova e la Spagna, by Piero Boccardo and Clario di Fabio,  2002 Cinisello Balsamo Silvana editorial).

He died in 1630 near Castelnuovo Scrivia and was buried in the crypt of the church of Santa Maria in Rosano, feud of Ambrogio, Lord of Casalnoceto.

His exploits were remembered together with those of his brother in the frescoes in the Gallery of the Palazzo dell’Acquasola of the Dukes of San Pietro (today known as Palazzo Doria Spinola or Massimiliano Spinola) and in the frescoes of the Villa Spinola of San Pietro, ordered by his sister Maria, Duchess of San Pietro, in their memory and honor.