The Master Works of the Opera Duomo Museum

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Beyond the Uffizi in Florence

A wood sculpture from 1455 by Donatello known as the Penitent Mary Magdalen is displayed at the Opera Duomo Museum in Florence. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A wood sculpture from 1455 by Donatello known as the Penitent Mary Magdalen is displayed at the Opera Duomo Museum in Florence. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

So much airspace is taken up by the Uffizi Gallery in Florence that a visitor there might overlook a newer museum sited just behind the Duomo. Although the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiori, which runs this new museum, has been around since 1296 when it became responsible for managing the construction of a cathedral and bell tower in town, the Opera Duomo Museum has just been open since 2013.

The woman in pink at the Opera Duomo Museum is Saint Catherine of Alexandria, a painting attributed to Bernardo Daddi. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The woman in pink at the Opera Duomo Museum is Saint Catherine of Alexandria, a painting attributed to Bernardo Daddi. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Not nearly as vast as the nearby Uffizi, the art at the Museo dell’Opera, as it is also known, is just as impressive. There is more space, in some ways, here; visitors have more time to reflect on individual pieces without feeling pressured to rush to the next masterpiece, a sense I get at the Uffizi. The Duomo Museum seems not nearly so crowded.

With so much to seek out in Florence—David, the Duomo, the Uffizi, the Medici Chapel—the Opera Duomo Museum might be easy to skip. Any visitor should make the time to contemplate the art at the Opera Duomo.

—Lori Tripoli

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