The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore is located on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, which is part of the Venetian Lagoon. For tourists keen on exploring the wide architectural patrimony of the lagoon, this church is a must-visit. What is remarkable about this place of worship is it stands out as one of the most ingenious and faultless works of Andrea Palladio, the great Padua-born Renaissance architect who was retained by the history of architecture as one of the finest architects in Europe (reputation sustained, amongst others, by the fact most of his works – chiefly villas scattered throughout the Veneto region of Italy – have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO).

Palladio was commissioned by the members of the Benedictine order (who back then owed the island) to build the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, the main challenge consisting of setting up a facade able to hide, so to speak, the classical structure of the already existing ancient temple. The construction works started in 1566, but they were completed no sooner than 1610, decades after the death of Palladio (in 1580). His designated successor was Simon Sorella, who managed to carry on with the plans of his predecessor, keeping close to the original design.

The highlights of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore refer to, of course, the facade conceived by Palladio, and to three noteworthy works by Tintoretto: The Fall of Manna, the Last Supper and a Deposition (the first two flank the main altar, whereas the latter adorns the corridor which leads to the so-called Cappella dei Morti, meaning, Chapel of the Dead), exquisite works which reflect the degree of excellence Tintoretto achieved in using the chiaroscuro technique. While the interior of the church is very spacious, the decorations, without being scarce, do not suffocate the atmosphere (this is due, in part, to Palladio and to his great architectural ability, as well as to the fact the Benedictine monks were the ones to decide what decorations would be allowed inside the church, for centuries).

The bell tower of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore is also well worth a visit. The structure was initially built in 1467, but completely rebuilt in 1791. While on the top of this neoclassical campanile, visitors can admire the sweeping view of the Venetian Lagoon, all the way to San Marco with its stunning Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s Cathedral. The admission to the tower is not free (as it is the case with the church).

Name:
Church of San Giorgio Maggiore (Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore)
Address:
Quay San Giorgio, San Giorgio Maggiore, 30100, Venice, Italy


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