A painstaking restoration has concluded and the fruits of this labour have made their way to the Sala del Paradiso in the Opera del Duomo Museum.
The three monumental bronze and gold doors of the Florence Baptistery, completed nearly 700 years ago by sculptor Andrea Pisano, have joined Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise and North Doors; all three restored sets are now displayed side by side for the first time in their history.
The opportunity to visit these feats of artistic and restorative accomplishment is thanks to the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, part of the Opera del Duomo Museum, who financed 1.5 million euro to dismantle, transport, restore and place the treasures in the museum. The restoration cycles on all the doors, which were originally crafted between 1330 and 1336, began as far back as 1978.
Around eight tonnes of bronze and gold, the South Doors stand at almost five metres high and nearly three metres wide, and 20 of their 28 quatrefoil panels depict episodes from the life of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the Baptistery and Florence.
The three-year long restoration on the eight-ton bronze South Doors revealed the original gilding and revealed the details. During the flood of 1966, the door was seriously damaged: the right wing had split in two, some panels fell to the ground, and one of the 48 lion heads was lost, possibly dragged away by the water. Now, the dedication of expert restorers has brought new life to the most famous doors in Florence.