The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore (Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore) is a 16th century Benedictine church on the island of the same name in Venice, northern Italy, 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. The Benedictines also founded a monastery there, but in 1223 all the buildings on the island were destroyed by an earthquake.
Palladio arrived in Venice in 1560, when the refectory of the monastery was being rebuilt. He made great improvements to this and in 1565 was asked to prepare a model for a new church. In 1566 the foundation stone was laid in the presence of the Pope. However, 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.
The interior of the church is very bright with massive engaged columns and pilasters on undecorated, white-surfaced walls. The interior combines a long basilican nave with a cruciform plan with transepts. Two very large paintings by Tintoretto relate to the institution of the eucharist and are placed on either side of the presbytery where they can be seen from the altar rail. These are The Last Supper and The Fall of Manna (which was considered as a gift of God foretelling the gift of the eucharist).
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|Geographical coordinates||45.4293000, 12.3433000|
|Address||30133 Venice, Isola di S.Giorgio Maggiore 1|
|Construction dates||1566 - 1610|