Venice, Italy

St. Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, Italy

The island of San Giorgio Maggiore was granted to the Benedictine Order by Doge Tribune Memmo in 982 AD. It would appear that a church was already standing here dating to around 790. The Benedictines built a large monastery but it was entirely destroyed by a massive earthquake that hit Venice in 1223.

Immediately following the earthquake the church and monastery were rebuilt, but it seems to have been a largely ad hoc and unplanned structure and was in a continuous state of rebuilding.

In 1560 Andrea Palladio, the greatest architect of his age, arrived in Venice. In 1565 the Benedictines asked him to rebuild the church and in 1566 the first foundation stone was laid in the presence of the Pope. The majority of the body of the church was completed by 1575. The choir and façade date to after Palladio’s death in 1580 but were both created to his plans; the choir being completed in 1589 and the façade in 1610.

The campanile was the only part left from the second rebuilding of the monastery but it fell in 1774 and was rebuilt by 1791 in neo-classical style.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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