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San Giorgio Maggiore

San Giorgio Maggiore

Island of San Giorgio Maggiore

The island is one of the landmarks of Venice, advantageously located in front of San Marco. It owes its name to the church dedicated to St. George, erected in first half of the ninth century. In 982, abbot Giovanni Morosini obtained the island from the Doge Tribuno Memmo in order to found a Benedictine monastery. From that date, the island and monastery grew and prospered, becoming an important spiritual and cultural centre.

The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore was transformed into a magnificent Renaissance Basilica between 1566 and 1610, following the architectural design of Andrea Palladio. The Monastery, where Palladio had also built the new refectory and a second cloister, was unfortunately misused as military barracks and prison after the fall of the Republic of Venice in 1797, when the Island experienced a long period of painful decay.

Since the 1950s the Giorgio Cini Foundation, established by Vittorio Cini in memory of his son, has restored the complex to its historical splendour. The buildings now house the foundation's headqurters and its international cultural centre, with a library specialized in art history, research institutes, and spaces for exhibitions, concerts, conferences and meetings.

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