The Opera Duomo Museum, Florence

The Opera Duomo Museum, Florence, Italy
2008 – 2015
Client: Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore
Curator: Mons. Timothy Verdon
Architects: Natalini Architetti, Guicciardini & Magni Architetti
Lighting Designer: Arch. Massimo Iarussi
Structural Engineer: Ing. Leonardo Paolini
Exhibition Designers: Guicciardini & Magni Architetti
Electrical Engineers: Ing. Giancarlo Martarelli, P.I. Daniele Baccellini
Photographs by: Mario Ciampi

The “Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore” (also called “Opera del Duomo”) is the still existing institution created in 1296 by the Republic of Florence, with the aim of building the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. In 1891, the Opera established a Museum, to house the works of art removed over the centuries from the Cathedral and the Baptistery. Now, the “Museo dell’Opera del Duomo” houses the world’s most important collection of Florentine medieval and Renaissance sculptures, with masterpieces by Donatello, Michelangelo, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Luca della Robbia, Arnolfo di Cambio and many others.
In 2001, following an international competition, Prof. Adolfo Natalini and architects Guicciardini & Magni were commissioned to design an extension project, aimed at recovering the premises of the former Teatro degli Intrepidi, adjacent to the Museum, acquired by the Opera in 1998.
The project revolves around the realization, in the premises of the ancient theatre, of the spectacular Sala del Paradiso, which houses a life-size model of the unfinished fourteenth-century facade of the Duomo of Florence by Arnolfo di Cambio, on which the statues from the ancient facade have been relocated. The lighting project has taken into account the correlation between artificial and natural light to enhance the works on display, recreating the suggestion of an outdoor environment.
The museum itinerary winds through a succession of twists and turns, which always find their natural complement in the light. A lighting that never tries to be intrusive, and is always ready to step aside, when necessary, for the good of the Project.