The apartment was originally accessible via the outer monumental staircase; today, a 16th-century inner staircase leads directly into the New Gallery, built in neoclassical style at the end of the 18th century by Luigi Mansi on the occasion of his son Raffaele’s wedding to Camilla Parensi. The works were commissioned to Stefano Tofanelli (Lucca 1752 – 1812) who did not just modify the room plan, originally divided by a central wall, but also designed the doors, the furniture and the stucco decorations on the ceilings and walls. Only the ovals on the transoms, depicting erotic themes from classical mythology, were carried out by one of his disciples, Domenico del Frate.
The following hall, known as Music Room, commissioned in the late 17th century by Ottavio Mansi to celebrate his son Carlo’s wedding to Bolognese noblewoman Eleonora Pepoli, is still equipped with a carved wood stage for the orchestra. The frescoes were painted by Bolognese artist Giovan Gioseffo Dal Sole (Bologna 1654 – 1719), who took charge of all the figurative scenes, and Marcantonio Chiarini (1652-1730), who painted the perspective architectures (“quadrature”). They depict mythological and epic themes like The Judgement of Paris and Aeneas escaping from Troy, as a wish for the Mansis to beget a progeny as glorious as the Roman. Thanks to the solid “fake architecture” conceived by Chiarini, the majestic vault with the depiction of the Banquet of the Gods with Hercules deified gives the hall a sense of upward motion, further enhancing the two-story height of the room. On the right, a small irregularly-planned chapel holds a version of the Madonna of the Cherries by Flemish painter Jan Gossaert (around 1478 – 1572), also known as Mabuse, and a small Flemish Madonna of the milk from the late-15th century.
The Music Room marks the beginning of the suite of four sumptuous Camere di Parata (Formal chambers) and the Alcove, which are part of the systematic decoration project conceived by Chiarini with Giovanni Maria Ciocchi, who painted the allegorical scenes on the ceiling (Earth, Air, Water, Fire), one for each room. The walls of the chambers are furnished and decorated according to a complex and original arrangement due to a 19th-century intervention by Raffaele Mansi Orsetti who covered the walls with a complete cycle of beautiful tapestries woven at the end of the 17th century by George Peemans for the Manufacture of Bruxelles and designed by Justus d’Egmon, depicting Stories of the Emperor Aurelianus and Zenobia, queen of Palmyra. The chambers, though partially deprived of their original furnishings, retain the carpets, the elegant door-curtains in silk and embroidered velvet, the 18th-century Venetian glass chandeliers and important pieces of furniture including a Boulle writing desk donated to the Mansis by the King of Norway and Denmark Frederick IV when he stayed in the palace in 1709. The visually stunning Alcove room, arranged in 1688, is introduced and protected by a spectacular serliana in carved and gilded wood. The ceiling is decorated with a painting of Cupid and Psyche, the erotic subject par excellence, while the fabrics covering the walls and the "a dossello" bed are sumptuously decorated with silk embroideries depicting garlands of plants, fruits and small animals: a highly interesting and rare artifact both in terms of quality and state of preservation.