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Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

Packed with masterpieces

Donatello's Cantoria

This splendidly, recently renovated museum is one of Florence’s finest, and houses both relics from the actual construction of the cathedral and the masterpieces that once adorned it. Part of the building was once a farmhouse, renovated by Brunelleschi in 1432 as his headquarters and used by Michelangelo to sculpt the David.

In 2015, the museum’s lay out was radically changed. The new entrance is off the small sky-lit courtyard, the Cortile del Ticciati, adorned with sculptures on the life of St John the Baptist by Girolamo Ticciati, a pupil of Giovan Battista Foggini commissioned in the 1730s by the Arte di Calimala, or Cloth Merchants' Guild for the Baptistry altar (note the reliefs of eagles, the symbol of the Evangelist, clutching bales of cloth in their claws).

Next is the long corridor, the Corridoio dell’Opera with the names of the workers and artists who worked on the Cathedral. This leads into the Galleria delle Sculture with works that once adorned the facades of the Duomo and Baptistry. Here are several fragments of the ‘Porta della Mandorla’ on the north side of the Duomo (finished in 1422) and statues of Apostles and Prophets, including two known as The Profetini, which once stood over the door and are attributed to the young Donatello and Nanni di Banco, and the inside of Ghiberti's North door .

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Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Hans-Juergen-Luntzer, GNU Free Documentation Licen, Sailko, Sailko, GNU Creative Commons License