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Fondazione Giorgio Cini

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District: Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore

The first news of the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, dating back to 790, the year of construction of a church dedicated to St. George; In 982, the abbot Giovanni Morosini got the Island by the Doge of Venice, Tribune Memmo, in order to found a Benedictine monastery.


From that date the island and monastery grew, flourished and decayed following the fate of Venice; began to take on the current appearance during the first half of the fifteenth century, when it recorded major construction projects and decorum in the Gothic church and the adjoining monastery. The first wing of the monumental complex dating from the early 1500s, with the Manica Lunga, the old dormitory of the Benedictine fathers, and the Cypress Cloister, a fine example of early Renaissance architecture, both designed by John and Andrew Buora, architects Lugano . The second great architectural intervention on the island was the work of Andrea Palladio who, in 1560, built the church of San Giorgio, where the Last Supper painted by Paolo Veronese The Wedding at Cana, now back in their original location in facsimile, and the Palladian Cloister, which was completed after his death in the early decades of the seventeenth century. Longhena completed the spaces of the monumental baroque with two interventions: the grand staircase, monumental access to the apartment of the abbot, in 1645, and the Library, completed in 1671, stands between the two cloisters and decorated with magnificent libraries in walnut , of two orders, executed dall’intagliatore Franz Pauc on project Longhena. With the fall of the Venetian Republic during the Napoleonic period and, then, under the Austrian rule, the island was occupied by the military and began tampering and spoliation: the spaces of the island were reduced to civilian use, and on the north side were built large warehouses and a closed basin bounded by a fortified quay with two lighthouses in Istrian stone at the ends. The Austrian government decided to reorganize the barracks, target conserved, then, also by the Italian Government, by determining the total employment and the destruction of green areas with the construction of new buildings, factories and weapons stores. Left to decay, with monumental buildings divided haphazardly and often given a disrespect of historical and artistic value, the Island experienced its greatest period of decay which was subtracted with the establishment of the Giorgio Cini Foundation. With the impetus of Count Cini, in five years of uninterrupted work, from 1951 to 1956 the abbey was restored to its former splendor, the green areas were revitalized and new buildings and the additions were adjusted to make them acceptable in the context.