Opened in 1891, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo houses works and artifacts from Florence’s Duomo Cathedral, including Lorenzo Ghiberti’s original doors for the Baptistery of St. John (Battistero di San Giovanni), Donatello’s Penitent Magdalene statue, and the unfinished Florence Pietà—aka The Deposition—that Michelangelo intended to cover his own tomb.
Themed tours—including food and wine, architecture, and Dan Brown tours—typically offer a museum admission ticket as a part of a Duomo Complex tour, which includes the Cathedral and Baptistery (Battistero di San Giovanni). Private tours of Florence offer a more intimate experience, allowing you to include the Duomo and Museo dell’Opera in the day’s customized itinerary, while private tours of the Duomo Complex alone offer more in-depth information about the history and architecture of the Cathedral, Baptistery, and Museo dell’Opera. Private Duomo Complex tours typically include skip-the-line access to the Bell Tower and Dome.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is a must for history buffs, art aficionados, and Duomo Cathedral visitors.
- Save time with a skip-the-line admission ticket, often included with small-group tours of the museum.
- Light snacks and drinks are available at the museum café, which overlooks the rear of the Duomo.
- Bathrooms are located in the entrance.
- Download the Firenze Turismo app to access maps, cultural event calendars, and tourist information.
How to Get There
The centrally located Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is in Piazza del Duomo, just steps from the Cathedral. If arriving by taxi, simply provide the Duomo as your destination. The museum is easily accessible using the city’s bus system: nearest stops are Santa Maria Maggiore on bus 22 and Vecchietti on bus 6.
When to Get There
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is open from 9am to 7:30pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 1:30pm Sunday. The museum is busiest at midday, though the galleries rarely feel overly crowded—nevertheless, go in the morning for a quieter experience. Educational talks and cultural events are held often in both Italian and English; see the museum’s website for a full calendar.
Michelangelo’s Unfinished Business
Renowned Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo was 72 when he started the Florence Pietà, a depiction of three figures holding the body of Jesus Christ. After working on the sculpture for eight long years, Michelangelo attempted to destroy it in a fit of rage for reasons that art historians can only speculate. When observing the sculpture at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, look for signs of the artist’s self-inflicted damage.