Duomo Museum is located just behind the Duomo with easy access from the square. This museum is well laid out with great displays and very good lighting.
Duomo Museum helps to put the history of Florence and the area into perspective. It’s not that big, however it has some terrific pieces. I would highly recommend stopping in and learning about the Italian sculptures and the history behind it.
Ghiberti's baptistery bronze doors alone are worth the entrance fee. The Doors of Paradise from the Baptistery are amazing. Seeing the intricacy and the care he took in creating depth and architectural elements in the baptistery doors design is marvelous. It was great to read about each panel and identify well-known biblical stories depicted in each one. To be able to see the baptistery doors up close and take photographs in front of you is a real treat.
The Florentine Pieta is also another highlight well worth seeing. This is a replica, the original one is in the Vatican. Michelangelo was creating this for his own tomb, however he was not pleased with the result and tried to destroy it. He carved himself into the face of Nicodemus and you can see clearly the older look of the artist. It’s especially impressive because Michelangelo carved this masterpiece in his 70s.
There are many other reasons to see the Duomo Museum. Among them was Donatello's Magdalena Penitent with its splendidly depiction of the ravages on her body was a breath-taking experience. There are some other interesting sculptural pieces by Donatello not to be missed. Don’t forget to see the outstanding Silver Altar of St. John. The work is stunningly beautiful.
I also liked the exhibition on how the Duomo came to be designed and built. It outlines the building and the changes in its facades over time. It also had some of the tools used in building the Duomo. They provide excellent labels and explanations in English.
There are silver reliquaries (holds John the Baptist's finger). An amazing mosaic of St. Zenobius, wonderful pieces by Della Robbia, and much more. Keep an eye out for a very rare painting by Chalangio. It’s both stunning and surprising.
Duomo Museum is a treasure trove of art. It’s an amazing building with a lot of history. It’s a must on your visit to Florence and a great way to spend a couple of hours.