The Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore is a lay institution founded by the Republic of Florence in 1296 to superintend the construction of the new Cathedral and its bell tower. As of 1436, the year in which Brunelleschi's dome was completed and the church was consecrated, the principal task of the Opera became that of conserving the monumental complex which was joined in 1777 by the Baptistry of San Giovanni and in 1891 by the Museum founded to house the works of art which, in the course of centuries, had been removed from the Duomo and the Baptistry.
Today, in as much as a "works commission", the Opera is subject to the 1929 Concordat and, as such, directed by a Council composed of seven members who are appointed every three years with a decree by the Minister of the Interior, and elect one member as President. As of 1998, the Opera has juridically taken the shape of a Socially Useful Non-profit Organization (ONLUS), regulated by its own statute which includes among its institutional purposes, the "protection, promotion and valorization of its artistic patrimony".
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