Giovanni Stefano Donghi
Donghi was born in Genoa in 1608, the son of Bartolomeo Donghi and Giacoma Bernardi. Little is known of his early education but he completed studies at the University of Bologna and the University of Salamanca.
Throughout the 1630s, Donghi was employed in a number of administrative positions in Rome including referendary of the Tribunals of the Apostolic Signature of Justice and of Grace and president of the Apostolic Chamber.
In 1643 he acted as commissary-resident for the three legations held by Cardinal Antonio Barberini over regions in which he did not reside - effectively operating as the cardinal's representative in those regions when the cardinal was not there. He was also sent by the pope as legate to Lombardy during the First War of Castro to reach a peace agreement with the Dukes of Parma after the pope renounced the peace agreement negotiated by Cardinal Bernardino Spada.
Donghi was made cardinal-deacon by Pope Urban VIII in the consistory of July 1643 and deacon of San Giorgio in Velabro in August of that year. When Urban died the following year, he participated in the papal conclave of 1644 that elected Pope Innocent X. Donghi was openly a part of the Spanish faction of the College of Cardinals.