Despite the name, Florence’s Museo dell’Opera del Duomo has nothing to do with opera music - “opera” also being the Italian word for creative works, in this case the artwork that was once inside the cathedral.
The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is located conveniently right behind the Duomo, for which most of its collection was originally created. Inside you’ll see an unfinished Michelangelo pieta that he had apparently started as a piece to decorate his own tomb. He was later so unhappy with it that he broke it, but it was later put back together by a new owner. The face of Nicodemus is said to be a self-portrait of the sculptor.
Other highlights of the museum collection are Ghiberti’s original bronze panels from Florence’s Baptistery. The doors you see on the Baptistery today are excellent reproductions, but the originals are kept in air-tight containers to prevent further damage.
This Florence museum opened in 1891 but really rose to the level of must-see tourist attraction after the flood of 1966. During that flood, the water level was so high (and subsequent mud so pervasive) that much of the art in the Duomo was damaged. It was removed for repairs, and then quite a number of important pieces were moved to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo instead of going back into the cathedral.