Only a few minutes boat ride divide the noisy St. Mark’s Square from the peaceful and picturesque island of San Giorgio Maggiore, one of the most photographed sights of Venice, with breathtaking views over the Doge’s Palace, the Basilica and St. Mark Basin. This is a monastery-complex that the Benedictine order commissioned Andrea Palladio to build, and today still shines in all of its beauty and light. This important Benedectine monastery was built on a small island and it is designed around the church and two cloisters. Since 1951 a part of the island is run by the Cini Fondation, while the Basilica is still run by the Benedectine monks that in the 2013 established the Benedicti Claustra onlus (non-profit organization) that takes care to preserve and promote the historical and artistic heritage of the Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore. For the first time, thanks to this tour travelers will have the opportunity to visit both the Cini Foundation and the San Giorgio Abbey. Forget about crowded touristic attractions emptied in meaning and charm, if what you are looking for is a glimpse of that Venice that is inexorably vanishing, here you will have the rare and precious opportunity to experience it before it will be completely gone. Just get lost into the tiny paths on the island, fully experiencing the spirituality that still lingers here, so evanescent and present at the same time. Admire the temporary art exhibitions that are often hosted here. The tour will start with a visit to the San Giorgio Abbey, amazing masterpiece by Andrea Palladio where still lives a small comunity of Benedectine monks. Here, you will admire the priceless works of art of Jacopo & Domenico Tintoretto, Palma il Giovane, Carpaccio, and many more. After this walk across history and tradition, you will be escorted to the top of San Giorgio bell tower. Just one piece of advice: prepare you cameras well loaded since the view from here is one of the most beautiful in Venice. A breathtaking view over St Mark’s Square, the Salute Church, and the Venetian lagoon extends till the eye can see. Follows a visit to the prestigious Cini Foundation, a non-profit cultural institution located on the small island and keeper of incomparable heritage. It will be a charming itinerary which will take you among courtyards of the Renaissance and the majesty of the Baroque, timeless cloisters and monumental libraries keepers of immortal knowledge.
Stepping through the Palladian Cloister, the Cypress Cloister, the Palladian Refectory, the Longhena Staircase, the Manica Lunga (once the Benedectine dormitory turned into the central library of the Foundation), the Longhena Library, will be like stepping back in time, to a dimension of that Venice that is inexorably vanishing but still preserving tradition and an historical heritage of inestima-ble value. The picturesque Borges Labyrinth, designed by architect Randoll Coate will also be admired during the tour. After the visit you will be free to spend time exploring the Island or go ahead with your Venice trip schedule, worth a visit is the “Glass Tea House” by Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, a temporary pavilion and architectural work of art. Welcome to San Giorgio Maggiore: the island where tradition, history, art, religion, beauty and contemporary art run into each other.
Please wear appropriate clothes to enter the abbey (no bare knees or shoulders).
Please note that a local tour leader will escort you throughout the tour, and at Cini Foundation you will beguided by a specialized tour guide.