Cathedral Museum
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo
The new restyling of the museum - October 2015
The ten panels of the chorus by Luca della Robbia, one of the masterpieces of the 14th century sculpture


The present museum was founded in 1891 and has continued to receive all the works that were removed and continue to be removed (to grant their preservation) from S. Maria del Fiore and from the Baptistery. The collection is therefore the best guide to the several changes that have occurred in Florentine official sculpture originating with the building of the cathedral and extending over the centuries.

The vast majority of sculptures preserved in the Museum are those that Arnolfo had chosen for the facade, which was only partially completed while the architect was still living. The partially erected façade remained in this condition until 1587, when the Grand Duke, following the suggestions of the architect Bernardo Buontalenti, decided to replace it with a more modern look, in accordance with the general plans for the renewal of the town. Despite the several projects and competitions that saw the participation of famous architexts of several ages, the façade was completed only in 1887 by De Fabris, who gave it a completely different appearance as compared to the original project by Arnolfo. As a result of this remake, it was no longer possible to reinstall the statues that are however still preserved in the museum.

In addition to the sculptures of Arnolfo, the museum exhibits also works of the 14th century removed from the bell tower and sculptures by Andrea Pisano (1290-1349) and by his pupils and those from the so-called "Porta della Mandorla" located on the left side of the cathedral. The sculptures of Nanni di Banco (1380/90-1421) and of Donatello (1386-1466), originally made for the bell tower and the church, can be considered masterpieces of the 14th century sculpture, like the two large "Cantorie" by Luca della Robbia (1400-1482) and Donatello removed from the cathedral' s interior. Other important works have been moved to the museum recently, like the "Magdalene", a wooden sculpture by Donatello, originally placed in the Baptistery and the "Pietà" by Michelangelo, which was removed from the cathedral in 1980.

The collection also comprises other 16th and 17th works by Tuscan artists, which shows the importance attributed to the finishing of Santa Maria del Fiore over the centuries.

An independant room exhibits a collection of working tools and materials, recovered during the restauration works of the Cathedral and the Dome. This manage to effectively evoke the commitment and technical ability of the workers who collaborated to the project of Brunelleschi.


Michelangelo - Pietà
One of the later works by Michelangelo, probably created for his grave. Michelangelo worked for years but towards the end
of the work, the statue broke because the block of marble was defective, and he let his servant take the pieces. Later the servant sold them. The new owner, Tiberio Calcani, had it pieced back together and probably added the figure supporting Christ's arm, which is certainly not by Michelangelo.
Michelangelo has portrayed himself
in the face of the figure carrying Christ.
The new restyling of the museum - October 2015 - Slideshow
Giotto and Andrea Pisano
The original reliefs of the Giotto's Campanile
St. Luke by Nanni di Banco
St. John Evangelist by Donatello
St. Matthew by Bernardo di Piero Ciuffagni
Maria Magdalena
The Prophet Abacuc

The original Gate to Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti - 1452
now in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo

Room of the old facade
Roman sarcophagus
Bust of Filippo Brunelleschi by Giovanni Bandini

St. Mary Magdalen by Giovanni Bandini

St. Andrew by Lippo d'Andrea
St. Jude Thaddeus by Bicci di Lorenzo
Bernardo Daddi
Madonna between St. Catherine of Alexandria
and St. Zenobius
Detail from St. Catherine of Alexandria by Giovanni del Biondo
with additions by Giovanni del Ponte
Arnolfo da Cambio
Pope Bonifacio VIII
13th century
Arnolfo da Cambio
Madonna between Santa Reparata and Saint Zenobius,
Bishop of Florence from 376 to 407
Vincenzo Danti 1569 - 1571
The group of the Beheading of John the Baptist
The group was above on the North Door of the Baptistery.
The chorus by Donatello
Tools used to build the Cathedral
Winches for lifting and moving large weights
Hidden Italy * Bettina Röhrig * Logebachstr. 5 * D-53639 Königswinter * Germany