The small island of San Giorgio Maggiore, which looks like a stage on the water, has been immortalised on canvas countless times. The church 'de San Zorzi Mazor', as the Venetians call it, is a magnificent minor basilica, part of the monastery complex of the same name. The complex was built between 1559 and 1580, one of Andrea Palladio's greatest Renaissance works.
The façade of the church is typically Palladian, modelled on the classical style of ancient Rome. A typical reference to Renaissance art. The façade was completed by Vincenzo Scamozzi.
Inside the Latin-cross church, on the walls of the presbytery, are two works by Tintoretto: The Last Supper and The Harvest of Manna. In the Chapel of the Dead, his last work, The Deposition, was finished by his son Domenico. Other painters such as Jacopo and Leandro Da Bassano, Matteo Ponzone and Sebastiano Ricci embellished the Basilica. The Basilica also boasts sculptural works by Girolamo Campagna, Alessandro Vittoria and Niccolò Roccatagliata. Of great interest inside are the Palladian Sacristy, the Chapel of the Deposition and the Conclave Hall.
The top of the high bell tower, reached by a lift, offers a superb panorama of St Mark's Square and the lagoon. This is the fourth highest bell tower in Venice.
After the fall of the Republic in 1797, the monastery was suppressed and many of its treasures were stolen. In 1829 the island became a free port and in 1851 the seat of the artillery.
The complex regained its role as a cultural centre when the monastery, which included Palladio's cloister, refectory and library, was purchased in 1951 by Vittorio Cini. A marine college for sailor orphans was then founded there.
The Monastery Library, now administered by the Institute of High Culture, houses a wonderful collection of manuscripts and rare books.
If you are interested in visiting further, we recommend guided tours at the reception point in the bell tower. The island of San Giorgio Maggiore is not only a perfect backdrop for a souvenir photo, but also a must-see for lovers of Venice.