The ancient church was built in wood in the 9th century and was dedicated to San Giorgio Maggiore; term "major" to distinguish it from the church of the same name located on the island of San Giorgio in Alga.

In 1566, at the behest of Doge Gerolamo Priuli, the redefinition of this place was started by the famous Venetian architect; Andrea Palladio who also took care of the refectory of the adjoining Benedictine monastery. The result was a completely different, larger and architecturally reformed building.

He was given precise and rigid indications why the church was structured according to the liturgical dictates established in the Council of Trent of 1564 (such as, for example, the positioning of the choir behind the main altar) and according to the traditions of the time the structure was determined Latin cross with three naves, rectangular plan, a transept, two apses at the ends and a dome, in the center, which goes upwards. It was conceived by Palladio as a solemn basilica that takes up some concepts of the Romanesque style.

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