About Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

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 monastic community of San Giorgio was founded in 982, when the island was donated to the benedictine Giovanni Morosini by Doge Tribuno Memmo to build a monastery dedicated to San Giorgio.

When the celebrated Italian architect Andrea Palladio arrived in Venice in 1560, he made great improvements to the refectory and in 1565 was asked to prepare a model for a new church. Although work was not completed until Palladio’s death in 1580, the body of the church was complete by 1575 and it was ultimately finished thirty years after the death of Palladio in 1610. The interior of the church contains beautiful sculptures and considerable works of art created by Jacopo and Leandro da Bassano, Sebastiano Ricci, and Domenico and Jacopo Tintoretto. The church of San Giorgio achieved the title of ‘basilica’ under pressure from the Venetian prelate Giuseppe Sarto (the future Pope Pius X) to mark the hundredth anniversary of the election of Pope Pius VII. Source by Swarovski Perspectives

 

History of Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

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.

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.

The model was completed and approved in 1566 and the foundation stone was laid in the presence of the Pope in the same year. 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. -Source by Wikipedia