Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum)
Museum in Pisa
One of the most impeccably designed and thoughtfully curated museums in Tuscany often goes unnoticed by visitors, which is a real pity because it offers invaluable insights into the art and craftsmanship of its era. This gem is located on the Campo dei Miracoli and provides an enriching experience for those who do venture inside, along with a spectacular view of the Leaning Tower from its vast second-floor windows.
The museum, situated within the cathedral, proudly houses an extensive treasury that comprises priceless masterworks of silversmiths, opulent embroideries, captivating tombs, intricate sculptures, and mesmerizing paintings. Many of these sculptures once adorned various buildings within the complex but were moved indoors long ago to protect them from modern atmospheric pollution. Consequently, they have remained in such impeccable condition that they appear as if they were crafted just yesterday, despite their age spanning centuries.
The collections, thoughtfully labelled and described in English, take visitors on a journey through six centuries of history, starting with Islamic inlays of coloured marble that once embellished the cathedral—a reminder of Pisa’s maritime reach into the Middle East.
While exploring the museum, numerous treasures will capture your attention, so be sure not to overlook the bronze griffin, the wooden crucifix by Borgognone, the Citharoedus David, the Limoges caskets, and the works of Giovanni Pisano, especially his Madonnas, an exquisite small ivory statue, and the crucifix known as the Crocifisso d’Elci.
Among the notable pieces, you may spot a Roman sculpture—a bust of Julius Caesar sculpted either during his lifetime or soon after. This iconic image of Caesar is likely one that you have encountered in numerous history books.
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