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San Giorgio Maggiore Island

San Giorgio Maggiore is the island just in front of San Marco, across the canal. I had read a lot about the view from there, and as I am passionate about panoramic views (and I still do not own a drone) we decided to go there. Decision not to be regretted. It is so much more than just the tower and the views. It is a place where you find history, luscious vegetation, art, culture and quietness. I recommend it to everyone, and do not stick with the tower, take a time to walk around the island.

San Giorgio Maggiore island

It is a short vaporetto ride, as the island is located circa 400 m from Piazza San Marco. When you get there the view over Venice, from the ground, is already breathtaking.

The island was given to Morosini, a benedictine monk, in 982 AD by Doge Tribuno Memmo to found a monastery. The place was in the hands of benedictine monks until the beginning of the 19th century when Napoleon claimed it to be a military area. In the 20th century Count Cini bought the island and rehabilitated the monastery. The monastery is now the house of Fondazione Giorgio Cini, which is dedicated to art history, history, music, theatre, etc. The San Giorgio Maggiore Church was designed by Andrea Palladio (1508-1580). The bell tower was built in 1791, almost 20 years after the collapse of the first one in 1774.

The church inside has a beautiful art collection with works of art from Tintoretto, Bassano, and Ricci, including the Fall of Manna, Last Supper and Coronation of the Virgin.

The ascension to the campanile is made by a lift (ufffff, no stairs thank God), and when you get there the views are absolutely incredible. For me, it is now my favorite panoramic view, that includes most famous landmarks, the islands, a gorgeous view over Piazza San Marco, as well as the beautiful gardens of San Giorgio Maggiore. We stayed there for quite some time, really awed with such immense beauty, before we descended and headed to the gardens of Cini Foundation.

Panoramic View

The surroundings of the Church are a whole different world from the busy San Marco and Rialto. There you really feel relaxed, surrounded by green, fresh earth smell, the smell of rosemary that impregnates the area where a small cafe is (we had a not so good cappuccino there, expensive, but worth the ambiance). Walking around, I forgot to take pictures of everything, so absorbed I was by the luxurious vegetation, views and peace I could feel on that place. As describing it would be too time consuming, I post below the layout of the island and the different places you can see, taken from the site of Cini Foundation:

1. The monumental complex
Unique in its kind, the ex Benedictine Monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore is a historical site of great architectural and artistic prestige, thanks to the presence of works by the greatest 16th and 17th-century Italian Masters. It is venue of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini since 1951.
Discover the history of the monumental complex
 2. The Abbey of  San Giorgio Maggiore e Campanile
The Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore is on the on the island of the same name, in front of the St. Mark’s Basin. Part of its complex is the Church by Andrea Palladio, completed in 1610 from the architects Scamozzi and Sorella accurately following the drawings by the architect from Vicenza. It has been inaugurated, in the same year by the Patriarch Francesco Vendramin.
See the Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore web site
3. Le Stanze del Vetro
Le Stanze del Vetro is a long-term cultural project devoted to studying and highlighting the Venetian art of glassmaking in the 20th century. A permanent exhibition space designed to host a series of solo and group shows featuring international artists, both contemporary and historical, who have used glass during their careers as an original means of expression and a medium for researching their own personal aesthetics.
See Le Stanze del Vetro web site
4. ARCHiVe
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation and the Digital Humanities Laboratory of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL-DHLAB) are launching a new centre dedicated to technology and to the digital preservation of cultural heritage on the Venetian Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Italy: ARCHiVe – Analysis and Recording of Cultural Heritage in Venice. The Helen Hamlyn Trust is the founding supporter of ARCHiVe.
See the ARCHiVe page
5. Le Sale del Convitto
Originally a customs storehouse since 1792, these rooms became a boarding school (convitto) in 1952. In 2008, they were converted into a centre for temporary exhibitions organised by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini or in collaboration with major international institutions.
6. The Auditorium “Lo Squero”
The Squero Auditorium on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore is a former boat repairs shed (squero). It was converted into a stunning modern concert hall by architects Cattaruzza and Millosevich with the support of the Interregional Office for Public Works in the Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia, and the Fondazione Virginio Bruni Tedeschi.
7. Piscina Gandini
Designed and built in 1960, the Piscina (“swimming pool”) is a wonderfully light-filled space due to its ample glazed surfaces and steel-frame windows and glass doors.
Having recently been renovated, the Piscina is now one of the Foundation’s exhibition facilities and hosts various events, especially photographic exhibitions.
8. Borges Labyrinth and Room
The reconstruction of the garden maze that the British architect Randoll Coate designed in honour of Jorge Luis Borges (Buenos Aires, 1899 – Geneva, 1986) was installed to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of the celebrated Argentine writer, poet and essayist, in collaboration with the Fundacion Internacional Jorge Luis Borges. Adjacent to the labyrinth, the Borges Room hosts temporary events and exhibitions.
9. Branca Center Residence
Being a resident is an essential part of life at the Vittore Branca Center for the Study of Italian Culture: immersion in the cultural life on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore and in the monumental areas of the Fondazione Cini is the fundamental prerequisite for a physical and emotional involvement enabling young researchers and senior scholars to make the most of the opportunities arising from working side by side. The Residence can accommodate up to 90 scholars in single or double rooms.
More about the Branca Center
10. Teatro Verde
Designed by architects Luigi Vietti and Angelo Scattolin and built in 1952 by recycling material left over from restoration work on the island, the Teatro Verde is a 1,484-seat amphitheatre set at the heart of the grounds on San Giorgio Maggiore.
Modelled on ancient Greek and Roman theatres, and alluding to the open-air garden theatres that adorned Venetian villas from the Renaissance to the 18th century, the Teatro Verde is made of steps of white Vicenza stone separated by boxwood hedges.
11. Foundation Grounds
The Foundation grounds form the largest private park in Venice. The original design for the redevelopment of the grounds in the 1950s consisted of a series of large flowerbeds interlocked with some of the main paths to create the pattern of accesses to the Teatro Verde, the central feature of the area. In the original design, the main paths in the grounds were flanked by regular rows of tall trees, while the internal alleys were bordered by hedges of varying heights made up of several species. The grounds have undergone several modifications over the years in an approach, however, always respectful of the vegetation’s natural growth over time.
B – Palazzo Cini
The Fondazione Giorgio Cini owns part of the Palazzo Cini at San Vio, which from 1919 was Vittorio Cini’s principal residence. The building is the result of merging two 16th-century palaces: one belonging to the Foscari on the Grand Canal and the other owned by the Santa Maria Formosa branch of the Grimani family. It now houses the Palazzo Cini Gallery. Since 2014, following renovation work carried out on the first and second floors with the support of Assicurazioni Generali, the permanent Gallery opens to the public for about seven months every year, and also regularly hosts exhibitions of historical and contemporary art.
Source: https://www.cini.it/en/come-arrivare
Enjoying the peace and tranquility

It was now time to go, and enjoy the rest of our day visiting Castello, and ending with a nice meal, tired but happy after a fantastic day.

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6 comments

  1. Nata

    Thank you ! Beautiful!!!!

    Reply

    1. heelsandspices

      Thank you Nata

      Reply

  2. Motoguzzimomma - Christine

    Oh Joy. Thank you for another visual delight, Dalila. And those photos are so atmospheric.

    Reply

    1. heelsandspices

      Thank you my dear, it was indeed a lovely day

      Reply

  3. John Koen

    So amazing! I missed this when you posted it, but really enjoyed and will have to visit there the next time I make it to Venezia! It seems like a lovely day, totally worth it, and the bonus of the views of Piazza San Marco which I have never seen like that in real life are altogether remarkable!

    Reply

    1. heelsandspices

      It is stunning JK. And so peaceful as compared to the other side. An oasis

      Reply

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