If you are on a day trip to Venice and do not have time to visit the islands in the Venetian Lagoon, try to take an hour and visit the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in front of St Mark’s Square. Trust us, you will not regret it. Vaporetto ride from the station near St Mark’s Square takes only three minutes, and the view of Venice is breathtaking.
The largest part of the island belongs to a Benedictine monastery with beautiful basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore. In 982 the Doge Tribuno Memmo (after whose family the island was named until it was renamed into the current name) gave the island to a Benedictine monk to build the monastery by the existing wooden church. Over the centuries, the island gained its current contours with impressive white facade of the basilica above it (there are the most famous Italian masters paintings here, such as Tintoretto) and the bell tower built in 1791. It is even possible to spend the night in the monastery, by prior notification, and the price is not fixed – pay as much as you think is enough.
During the reign of Napoleon, the island was turned into a military complex, the harbor with quays and warehouses was built and it served as porto franco (free port) and existed during the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy as well. Italian government donated devastated island with all the facilities to Cini Foundation who cares about memorial complex reconstruction on the island, and promotes the creation and development of educational, social, cultural and art institutions in its environment.
Only three years later Foundation built now famous outdoor Teatro Verde amphitheater with opera and theater performances, and the island is often host to many meetings at the highest statesman’s level.
As part of this year’s Venice Biennale of Architecture Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto made a temporary pavilion called Glass Tea House Mondrian where you can walk absorbing tranquility, harmony and pensiveness of the Japanese tradition of tea drinking (Dogs are not allowed here, but kind curators will offer you to take care about your dog).
At present, the vision of San Giorgio Maggiore complements a gold installation, also part of the Venice Biennale of Architecture, called The Sky Over Nine Column, by Heinz Mack. Golden mosaic contains over 800 000 gold bricks on nine pillars seven meters high.
After the crowds and lots of tourists in Venice, we were regenerated by silence and stillness on San Giorgio Maggiore. With the harbor as part of the nautical school, there is also one restaurant on the island with a beautiful terrace with even more beautiful view on Venice.
Visit Burano, the island of lace, today best known for its cheerful facades.
We also visited the island of glass – Murano
Venice – Queen of the Adriatic
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