San Giorgio Maggiore Church

Venice, Italy

San Giorgio Maggiore is a 16th-century Benedictine church on the island of the same name in Venice, designed by Andrea Palladio, and built between 1566 and 1610. The church is a basilica in the classical renaissance style and its brilliant white marble gleams above the blue water of the lagoon opposite the Piazzetta and forms the focal point of the view from every part of the Riva degli Schiavoni.

The first church on the island was built about 790, and in 982, the island was given to the Benedictine order by the Doge Tribuno Memmo. The Benedictines founded a monastery there, but in 1223, all the buildings on the island were destroyed by an earthquake.

The church and monastery were rebuilt after the earthquake. The church, which had a nave with side chapels, was not in the same position as the present church, but farther back at the side of a small campo or square. There were cloisters in front of it, which were demolished in 1516. The monks were considering the rebuilding of the church from 1521.

The foundation stone of current church was laid in 1565. The work was not finished before the death of Palladio in 1580, but the body of the church was complete by 1575, except for the choir behind the altar and the facade. The decoration of the interior was completed subsequently. The choir appears to have been designed in essentials by Palladio before his death and was built between 1580 and 1589.

The façade, initially under the superintendence of Simone Sorella, was not commenced until 1599. The stonemason's contract provided that it was to follow Palladio's model and there were only minor changes. It was completed in 1610.

The campanile (bell tower), first built in 1467, fell in 1774; it was rebuilt in neo-classic style by 1791. It was ascended by easy ramps and there is now also a lift. There is a fine view across Venice from the top.



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Founded: 1565
Category: Religious sites in Italy


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jorge C (2 years ago)
You can only get here by boat. There is an extra fee to climb up the tower, superb views of the city and the lagoon, not as packed as expected. The famous Palladian church in bright marble and the rest of the island is a must when in Venice, or a good reason to go back!
Kim Lindstedt (2 years ago)
Calm and beautiful church. Worth a visit to get out of the stress of Venice! Be sure to bring mask.
Somendra Meena (2 years ago)
Such a lovely view from the bell tower. You can see other islands near to this from there. Visiting church is free but going up with lift will cost €8 but is worth it.
Michael Mack (2 years ago)
A beautiful church with breathtaking views of the main city of Venice. The views from the Tower are magical. We had no lines on the day we visited and very few people at the top of the Tower. Great place to take photos and enjoy the views of the entire city. The church itself it just beautiful. The paintings, alter, wood work is just awe inspiring. This church is a must when visiting Venice. No charge to enter the church, but a fee to go up into the tower and they only accept cash.
Justina M (2 years ago)
Stunning, and what great views. Also leave time to check out all the cool things on the rest of the island!!
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