Venice and the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore

 The Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice by Jakub Hałun | CC BY-SA 4.0

The Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice by Jakub Hałun | CC BY-SA 4.0

The magnificent Giorgio Cini Foundation, on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, will be the site of the summit. Once a working Benedictine monastery, the Cini has been transformed into a cultural institute and meeting place for the most esteemed intellectuals, artists, politicians and economists.

In their articles about holidays in Venice, journalists David Gillet and Paul Miles describe San Giorgio Maggiore and encourage visitors to “stay in a spectacular monastery in Venice for what you can afford” with “no frills, no crowds and the best views.”

Venice and its lagoon have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1987. Founded in the 5th century and spread over 118 small islands, Venice became a major maritime power in the 10th century. The entire city is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest buildings contain works by some of the world’s greatest artists including Bellini, Giorgione, Tiepolo, Tiziano, Tintoretto, Veronese and others.


View of Venice, engraving by Hogenberg and Braun from the Civitates Orbis Terrarum, 1565 | Public domain

Since the 5th century, Venetian populations escaping barbarian raids found refuge on the sandy islands of Torcello, Jesolo and Malamocco. These temporary settlements gradually became permanent. In this inland sea amid a tiny archipelago at the very edge of the waves rises one of the most extraordinary constructed areas of the Middle Ages. When this group of tiny islands were consolidated and organized into a unique urban system, the topography was altered into what became canals such as the Giudecca Canal, St Mark’s Canal and the Great Canal, as well as a network of small streams that are the veritable arteries of a city built on water.

Venice is a unique artistic achievement. The lagoon of Venice has one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces in the world from Torcello’s Cathedral to the church of Santa Maria della Salute. The years of the Republic’s extraordinary Golden Age are represented by monuments of incomparable beauty: San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, San Zanipolo, Scuola di San Marco, Frari and Scuola di San Rocco, San Giorgio Maggiore. With other more modest residences and structures throughout its six quarters (Sestieri), including the 13th century Scuole hospitals and charitable or cooperative institutions, Venice presents a complete typology of medieval architecture.


Below is a ’50s short film from the Istituto Luce’s Historical Film and Photo Archive showing the island in its full splendor during a visit by four movie actors in Italy for the 16th Venice International Film Festival.

Four actors  –  Edmund Purdom, Linda Christian, Rossano Brazzi, Gianna Maria Canale  – visit the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, restored by the Giorgio Cini Foundation in the 1950s. In this short film you can enjoy Venice, its lagoon, the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, the Teatro Verde and the wonderful spaces of the ex Benedictine Monastery: Longhena Library, the Palladian Cloister.

Courtesy of Istituto Luce’s Historical Film and Photo Archive


Fondazione Giorgio Cini

Linking sponsors


Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

Supporting sponsors

The Getty
Casalini Libri

Challenge sponsors


Travel awards sponsors

Digital Library Federation


con il patrocinio

With the patronage of

AgID MAECI Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations ICOM Italia anai
Le città in festa

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