Image: 'Door of Paradise'
Opd Salvio  /  AP
In this undated photo provided by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, Lorenzo Ghiberti's self portrait is seen on the original panel of the "Door of Paradise" before and after 27 years of restoration in Florence, Italy.
By
updated 6/7/2012 6:20:56 PM ET 2012-06-07T22:20:56

An eight-ton gilded bronze door so splendid Michelangelo dubbed it the "Door of Paradise" will be unveiled to the public again after 27 years of restoration work.

But Lorenzo Ghiberti's 15th-century door — which bears scenes from the Old Testament — won't be going back in its place on the baptistery of Florence's duomo, or cathedral. Instead, starting on Sept. 8, it will go on display in a case at a Florence museum, the Museo dell'Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, to preserve it from renewed damage.

Culture Minister Lorenzo Ornaghi announced the destiny of the baptistery's east door at a news conference in Rome on Thursday.

During World War II, the "Door of Paradise" was temporarily removed from the baptistery to spare it from damage, only to see it battered by the raging, muddy waters of the Arno River during the 1966 flood that devastated much of Florence.

Image: Baptistry of duomo, Florence
Ghigo Roli  /  AP
In this undated photo provided by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, a copy of the original panel of the "Door of Paradise" is seen on the baptistry of duomo in Florence, Italy.

Six of its 10 panels were ripped away by the force of the flood. The panels were re-attached, only to be ravaged over time by pollution.

A copy was put in its place in 1990 after the original was sent off for restoration.

Officials told reporters that the baptistery's south door, by sculptor Andrea Pisano, and its north door, also by Ghiberti, are being restored and will also end up in the museum.

Ghiberti's masterpiece is one of several Italian art treasures to end up in a museum following restoration.

The four gilded bronze horses on the facade of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice were moved inside St. Mark's museum in 1982 and replaced outside by copies.

Slideshow: Italian dreams (on this page)

In the heart of Rome, the 1,800-year-old bronze equestrian statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, badly eroded by pollution, was removed from its outdoor perch in 1981 atop the Capitoline Hill for restoration and is now a star of the Capitoline Museums. A replica of the statue adorns the square outside the museum.

"When you take an artwork from its original context, it is always a defeat," Cristina Acidini, a Florence museums official, told The Associated Press. However, she added, it is a "necessary process to save the original."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Italian dreams

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  1. Torino

    Street scenes of Torino, or Turin, the capital of Piedmont. This sub alpine territory is famous for the shroud of Turin, its cafes and cars. (Mike Hewitt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Sicily

    The ancient Greek Temple of Juno, located in the medieval city of Agrigento, on Sicily's southern coast. The Temple of Juno was built in the mid-5th century BC. It was dedicated to the goddess Hera (Greek name), or Juno (Roman name). (Alessandro Fucarini / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Milan

    Cyclists pedal in downtown Milan's Duomo Square, renowned Milan's gothic cathedral in the background. Milanese were forced to renounce to their cars by local authorities calling for a car less day to fight pollution and encourage citizens to take public transportation. Some 150 cities all over Italy declared a car less day on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2000. (Luca Bruno / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Pisa

    Tourists visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Cathedral in the "Square of Miracle" Aug. 24, 2002 in Pisa, Italy. The Tower of Pisa is the bell tower of the Cathedral. Its construction began in August, 1173 and continued for approximately two hundred years. The tower began to lean due to interaction with the soil on which it was built. The tower reopened in December, 2001 after 10 years of stabilization work. (Franco Origlia / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Pompei

    Aerial view from a mongolfiere (hot air balloon) as it flies over the ruins of the antic Pompei city, near Naples, May 27, 2005. (Mario Laporta / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Florence

    Michelangelo's famous marble statue of "David" (left) is bathed in natural light streaming through the dome of Florence's Accademia Gallery May 24, 2004, next to the "Pieta", another Michelangelo sculpture. (Vincenzo Pinto / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Rome

    Tourists visit the Foro Romano in Rome. The Roman Forum was the city's political and economic center during the Republican era and maintained its position into the Imperial age. It was mostly abandoned at the end of the 4th century. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Turin

    Turin's Mole Antonelliana dome stands out on Turin's skyline, northern Italy. The building was originally designed as a synagogue, but been restored into the National Museum of Cinema. (Massimo Pinca / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Venice

    Gondolas wait for tourists near Saint Marks Square Sept. 12, 2005 in Venice, Italy. The city stretches across 117 small islands, is linked by over 150 canals and 400 bridges. G ondolas, water taxis and water buses are the only modes of transportation around this unique, vehicle free city. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Village in the mist

    Italy's cities, villages and capitals offer a plethora of adventures. (Tino Soriano / National Geographic via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Street Scenes In Torino
    Mike Hewitt / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (10) Italian dreams
  2. <David> by Michelangelo at the Galleria dell'Accademia
    Stefano Amantini / Corbis
    Slideshow (7) Florence a la fresco
  3. Image: Coliseum Newly Opened Areas Press Preview
    Franco Origlia / Getty Images
    Slideshow (24) When in Rome ...

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