The Inner and Outer Cases

Although the Italian instruments were not themselves decorated, they were almost always fitted with an outer case, which would be painted or appliqued, and which served to protect the instrument when it was not being played. The harpsichord does not in fact have to be removed from the case to be played.
Even after the double case format was abandoned, the Italian makers continued to produce harpsichords that looked as if they had the inner-outer contruction.