The great staircase
The tour continues on the first floor, accessed by climbing the Monumental Staircase built by the Puinaghi brothers from Brescia to a design by the architect from Piacenza, Carlo Virginio Draghi.
The balustrade is in red Verona marble with seven putti in white stone. The pictorial decoration of the ceiling, in Liberty style, was executed by Giuseppe Riva of Bergamo and dates from 1927.
The Great Gallery
Stretching out from the Monumental Staircase is the Great Gallery. The right-hand and end walls , who were frescoed in 1696 by Ferdinando and Francesco Galli Bibiena, illustrated important facts and events in the history of the Meli Lupi family. The second panel shows the Doge of Venice investing Nicolò Meli Lupi as governor of Napoli di Morea (present-day Nauplion in Greece). The third panel shows the citizens of a Greek town presenting the keys of their town to the same Nicolò Meli Lupi. Four very simple chests can also be seen in this room: they come from the Palace in Parma and were probably designed by Angelo Rasori. On the end wall is a painting of a banquet scene which is presumed to portray Charles V too, when he visited the Marchese of Soragna. Further works by Francesco Galli Bibiena are the splendid decorations in the small 18th century gallery that extends from the end of the Great Gallery.
Branching off to the left of the Monumental Staircase is the very fine Gonzaga Gallery, inspired by the Guards’ Gallery at Palazzo Gonzaga in Sabbioneta. The Gonzaga Gallery was decorated in 1942 by the painter Tito Poloni and was commissioned by Princess Giuseppina Meli Lupi di Soragna, born a Gonzaga princess.
The Room of the Strong Women
In the Room of the Strong Women are two frescoes depicting bible stories in which women prove to be stronger than men: they show Judith and Holofernes and Jael and Sisara.
This room, once used as a Guard Room that served as a anteroom , was completely frescoed by Giovanni Bolla and Leonardo Clerici, who also decorated the adjacent Nuptial Chamber and the Throne Room in 1702.
The Throne Room
Next to the monumental fireplace, upon which the coats of arms of the Meli Lupi and Rossi families are shown joined, is a door leading to the Throne Room, a splendid room decorated with Genoese brocade and velvets. Above the feudal throne, now represented by two armchairs, hangs an impressive canopy with gilt ornaments and velvet and brocade drapes.
Also worth note are two antique ebony tables surmounted by cabinets with ivory, mother-of-pearl and coral inlays, all supported by elegant marine figure carved in the round in gilded wood. The portraits of Giampaolo and Ottavia Meli Lupi with finely carved frames are also very fine. This room also contains some extremely interesting wooden statues by Lorenzo Aili, an artist from the Trento area who later settled in Parma. These statues represent Spring and Autumn, and are part of a series of four that includes Winter and Summer, these latter two can be seen in the Nuptial Chamber.
The Nuptial Chamber
It is a large room separated from the nuptial bed by a carved and gilded wooden gate. Particularly magnificent are the two Murano mirrors with blue and white glass and crystal frames, decorated and painted, one of which bears the Meli Lupi family coat of arms.
The fireplace is surmounted by a chimneypiece with mirrors and ornaments in gilded wood executed by the wood carver Antonio Verzieri (1739). The two carved tables with cabinets similar to those in the Throne Room are also remarkable. Beside the bed is the famous prie-dieu formed by two putti between cushions, mention of which was already made in 1743.
The Sitting Room
The Nuptial Chamber then leads to the Sitting Room, remarkable for its mirrors with carved and gilded frames and for the floor inlaid with the Meli Lupi coat of arms by the master craftman Pietro Oliva from Parma. The Sitting Room also contains portraits of Giampaolo of Soragna, Ottavia and their son Giambattista.
The bronze and crystal chandeliers, the sofa upholstered in fabric embroidered in special broderage and the small 18th century Dutch writing desk lacquered in Chinese style are also worthy of note.