Hidden treasures

Discovering the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, what to see and how to reach it

Unknown places & works

Discovering the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, what to see and how to reach it

One of you may have had the chance to photograph, while travelling in Venice, the marvelous panorama in front of the historic St Mark’s Square and noticed, standing out in sunlit St Mark’s Bay, the islands of Giudecca and San Giorgio Maggiore.

The island of San Giorgio Maggiore is the smaller of the two and is just a few tens of meters from the Giudecca Island: it is a magical and silent place, far from the tourist routes, and with a charm that has been untouched since it was founded in the 10th century when the Benedictine monks built the first convent with an adjacent church.

Don't let you deceive by the small size of the island because, in reality, it is a small and precious treasure rich in history, art and culture ... but once you get to the island of San Giorgio in Venice, what to see?

Our advice is to start your visit from the Basilica, built entirely in Renaissance style to a design by the great master Palladio towards the end of the 16th century. Not to be missed is the imposing high altar by Girolamo Campagna and the two great works by Tintoretto: the ‘Last Supper’ and the ‘Raccolta della Manna’. Also, of great artistic value, is the painting ‘Virgin with Child and Saints’ by Sebastiano Ricci, considered one of the masterpieces of San Giorgio Maggiore.

If you have been to the top of the bell tower of St Mark to admire the fabulous view of Venice from above, you cannot fail to also climb the bell tower of this incredible island. From the belfry you can enjoy a breathtaking and unusual view of the city and its lagoon in total tranquility. The current bell tower, 75 meters high, dates back to 1791 and was built in the style of the St Mark’s tower.

Definitely worthwhile is a visit to the former Benedictine convent, now home to the renowned Cini Foundation which hosts numerous exhibitions, events and concerts. The back of the two cloisters was started by Andrea Palladio and completed by Baldassarre Longhena. The monumental complex of the Cini Foundation is accessible through interesting guided tours available every day of the week: you can admire the Palladian cloister and cenacle, the Staircase and the Longhena Library, the Borges labyrinth, the Cypress Woods and many other hidden places!

How to reach this island rich in history, art and spirituality? Obviously by vaporetto! Buy your ticket for Venetian public transport online and enjoy the journey: line 2 from Piazzale Roma, from the train station or from San Marco - stop 'San Zaccaria'.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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