I returned to Florence to find the restoration work on the Gothic tabernacle (Albizzo di Piero, 1414) housing Ghiberti's St. John finished. It is a job very well done - the missing piece of stone under the base of the statue has been replaced, and the carvings of the tabernacle have been beautifully cleaned. The work on the small eagle emblems is especially fine. There is always a battle to leave things "as is" in restoration, and just clean, without ever adding anything new - but surely these eagles were very brightly painted at one time. The restoration work gives a glimpse to the trained eye of what must have been.
There is also a garland hanging under the tabernacle now, in celebration I suppose, and a new plaque has been put in place crediting the Rotary Club of Florence for the work.
It is important to remember that beside the tabernacle of St. George, all of these tabernacles are the originals. It is a testament to the craftsmanship and materials of the various times (the original construction dates span hundreds of years!) that they still survive the centuries. Pretty amazing.
The first photo below is the "before" picture: