A NEW MUSEUM IN FLORENCE
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Over seven hundred years after its foundation, the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, as it is known today, is still actively engaged in preserving and enhancing the monuments comprising the Great Museum of the Duomo: the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with Brunelleschi’s Dome and the crypt of Santa Reparata, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, Giotto’s bell tower and the Historical Museum.
The Opera del Duomo museum was founded in 1891 in the same space where Michelangelo carved his David. After two years of intense restoration, arrangement and enlargement, the Opera del Duomo museum of Florence finally reopened its doors on October 29, 2015. Over 750 works of art representing 720 years of history, this new museum in Florence is the feather in the cap of a city already abundantly endowed with magnificent artwork and monuments.
Under the direction of Monsignor Timothy Verdon, the museum focuses on the connection between art and faith and places the works in context as they relate to their functions in the Duomo complex. The new museum has more than doubled from its previous size with the added space of the ex -18th century Teatro degli Intrepidi , closed in 1914 and transformed into a warehouse and later a garage. The project has preserved the large open-space of the theater transforming it into a room lit from above giving harmony to the architecture and the works of art which adorn it.
Nowhere is an open-space so well used as on the ground floor of this museum in the Room of the First Façade. Visitors are astounded by the a full scale reconstruction of medieval façade of the Duomo which was conceived by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296. Faithfully reconstructed in resin and marble dust, many of the original statues have returned to their place.
From the brightly lit main hall, we move to the darker room where the Maddalena by Donatello and Michelangelo’s Pietà are exhibited. The lighting is a deliberate effect to urge the visitor to reflect and meditate. This is an exhibition choice the recurs in all of the rooms in an attempt to place the works in a “theme” but also in respect to their original locations.
The first floor is dedicated to Giotto’s Bell Tower where sixteen life-size statues are on display including Donatello’s prophets Habakkuk and Jeremiah as well as other adornments of the tower. From this gallery, another incredible view of the façade on the lower floor can be enjoyed.
Finally, don’t miss the beautiful and unique view of the Duomo from the small room at the top of the museum and the outdoor terrace on the third floor from where you can admire the Cupola in all its splendor.
Join our small group tour to visit this beautiful museum! http://www.walksinsideflorence.it/shared-tour-inside-and-outside-the-duomo.html