11 April 2014

The Island of San Giorgio Maggiore

If you're not in the mood for a longer side trip to Burano, there's always Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore just across from San Marco.

The church of San Giorgio seen from Campo S. Maria della Salute

The island of San Giorgio is the home to the San Giorgio Maggiore church and Benedictine monastery, an open-air theatre, and the Cini Foundation arts center. The church (another of the few that allow pictures inside) was designed by Andrea* Palladio in the 16th century.

The Monastery of San Giorgio


If I recall, entrance to the church was either free or was only like 2.50 Euro. The bell tower is about 6 Euro but the line is much shorter than that of the San Marco tower! The view is pretty spectacular. It also really drove home how small a city Venice is. Every city I visited on my first trip to Europe in 2000 seemed, to me, to be huge. And fair enough I suppose as I'm from a town with a population of under 5,000 (and I maintain they include livestock in that count). But now...both my friend who lives in London and I living in Istanbul, with a population of 15 million, were really taken by how small the city is. You can literally see all of it from the bell tower.

Piazza San Marco

San Giorgio facade in the foreground & San Maria della Salute in the back

The beautiful church and fantastic views make the trip to the island well worth the effort. There's a dedicated vaporetto, the number 2 (the last pier), that goes from San Zaccaria to San Giorgio. We only took a few vaportetti during our stay, preferring to walk. However single tickets can get expensive so if you think you're going to take a lot of boats, get one of the passes. Single tickets and passes can be bought at any of the piers and passes are good for 12, 24, 36, 48, and 72 hours and 7-days.

*I keep telling my parents they gave me a man's name and being in Italy just reinforces. There were at least four Doges with my name along with Andrea Palladio and any number of artists; including contemporary opera singer Andrea Bocelli. 

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