From October 29, the much-loved Museo dell’Opera del Duomo will reopen its doors to the people of Florence, bringing with it over 750 pieces of inspiring work revealing 720 years of history.
The History of Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
The museum, known as the "Cathedral Workshop", was founded by the Republic of Florence in 1296 as a base to oversee the construction of the new cathedral and its almighty bell tower. After the cathedral was completed in 1426 (with the completion of Brunelleschi’s Dome), the role of the museum moved on to be one of conserving the monuments of the cathedral, including the Baptistery of San Giovanni.
In 1891 began to house the works of art from the Duomo and Baptistery that had gradually been removed through the course of the centuries.
In 2013 the Museum was closed to the public for renovation and expansion, although the Gates of Paradise and Michelangelo’s Pietà remained on view.
What is to see in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo?
The new museum hosts the largest collection of Florentine monumental sculpture in the world, with Medieval and Renaissance statues and reliefs created with marble, bronze and silver by the most illustrious Florentine artists: experience the work of Arnolfo di Cambio, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Antonio del Pollaiolo, Andrea del Verrocchio, Michelangelo and Andrea Pisano (to name a few!).
With over 6,000 square metres of exhibition space, the impressive museum contains 25 rooms across 3 floors, with a whole host of unique masterpieces to feast your eyes upon. These include:
- Michelangelo’s Pietà
- Donatello’s Magdalene and Prophets
- The Choir Lofts by Luca della Robbia and Donatello
- The Doors of Paradise and North Door designed for the Baptistery by Lorenzo Ghiberti
- 27 beautiful panels embroidered in gold and polychrome silk made by Antonio del Pollaiolo (and on display for the very first time since restoration)
- 70 fragments belonging to the Cathedral’s original medieval façade
- The Gallery of Giotto’s Bell Tower, including sixteen life-size sculptures and 54 tiles that originally decorated the Bell Tower
But a small snapshot of the stunning work on display, the museum bursts with gothic style and sculpture, offering room after room of art and history.
The museum itself reveals a spectacular new design that hosts these masterpieces in a setting reflective of the environment in which they were built. A unique approach, it creates a museum within a museum in a concentration of faith, art and history unparalleled anywhere in the world. With a modern twist, it also includes an area specifically for temporary exhibitions, thematic exhibitions and special events.
The journey through the museum concludes, fittingly, on a panoramic terrace that gives an unfamiliar (but unforgettable) view of Brunelleschi’s Dome. With a spell-binding view of the city, this surreal ending to your trip is integral to understanding the museum’s sole purpose: to reveal how the drama of beauty has served the faith through the ages.
Access with a single ticket to all monuments, including Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Giotto’s Bell Tower, Baptistery of San Giovanni and Crypt of Santa Reparta is 15 euro online. To purchase, visit http://www.museumflorence.com/museum.