San Giorgio Maggiore owes its name to a church built in 790. So called to distinguish it from another island in the lagoon, San Giorgio in Alga, for a long time it was the site of agri-food activities and then, in 982, it was sold by the doge Tribmo Memmo to Giovanni Morosini to build a Benedictine monastery there. Over time it became increasingly important, both for the granting of privileges and bequests that the Lordship granted him, and for the increasingly growing religious and cultural activity, of which it then became the fulcrum.
In 1223 the first buildings erected were destroyed by the earthquake, which again saw the light again in 1229, after their reconstruction.
The complex of buildings we can enjoy today is the result of various works made by the greatest names of the past: Giovanni and Andrea Buora, Andrea Palladio, Baldassarre Longhena.
Dei Buora are the Manica Lunga and the Cloister of Allori, very suggestive.
La Manica Lunga is the ancient dormitory of the Benedictine fathers, a long building measuring 128 meters from north to south, flanked by cells and with a lighting system from above that amplifies its charm and highlights Giovanni's design wit Buora, completing it in 1494. Currently the New Long Sleeve is an exceptional space for the use of cultural and documentary assets conceived according to the most modern international library standards, redevelopment curated by Michele De Lucchi, of the Giorgio Cini Onlus Foundation. This space is called the ideal "square" of the recently established "Vittore Branca" International Center of Studies of Italian Civilization.
From 1550 a great boost was given to the completion of the works by Andrea Palladio, creating the Refectory - otherwise known as the Palladian Hall -, the Cloister of the Cypresses and the church of San Giorgio, dedicated to Saints Giorgio and Stefano, with the large square in front, where today there is also the landing place of public shipping lines. The church was definitively completed by Simone Sorella, after Palladio's death.
Baldassarre Longhena instead took care of the construction of the last rooms: the two-flight staircase, the Abbots' apartment and the library.
The island lived a parenthesis not exactly happy after the fall of the Republic, when the convent was suppressed and from 1808 to 1929 was used as a free port consisting of a basin bordered by two towers, and subsequently entrusted to the Austrian military who established a command there artillery, in 1851.
Only a hundred years later, in 1951, it regained its role of cultural importance in the city thanks to Count Vittorio Cini, who established the Giorgio Cini Foundation with the aim of reintegrating it into the life of Venice and making it an international center of cultural activities.
San Giorgio Maggiore was also the home of an eclectic Benedictine monk, Father Ernetti (Pellegrino Alfredo Maria Ernetti), who was a man of considerable erudition, theologian, philosopher and exorcist, known above all for having carried out research in fields considered unconventional by the scientific community .
Also on the island is the Green Theater, built in the park of the same name, an open amphitheater where theater and concerts are held.
To see Venice as Jacopo de 'Barbari, author of the incomparable sixteenth-century plan of the city, can enjoy the view from the top of the bell tower adjacent to the church, second only in height to the paròn de casa, the Campanile di San Marco.