The Fondazione Giorgio Cini


Cenacolo Palladiano
Courtesy of Fondazione Giorgio Cini

The Fondazione Giorgio Cini is a non-profit cultural institution. Located on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, at only two minutes by vaporetto from Piazza San Marco, the foundation was constituted in 1951 by Vittorio Cini, in memory of his son Giorgio, with the aim of restoring the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore – devastated after 150 years of military occupation – and of creating an international cultural centre that would re-integrate the Island into the life of Venice. This mission is pursued through the activities of its institutes for advanced studies and its research centres, all focused on the study of all aspects of Venetian culture.

Monumental architecture

Unique in its kind, the ex Benedictine Monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore is a historical site of great architectural and artistic prestige,


Sala Arazzi, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice. Courtesy of Fondazione Giorgio Cini


thanks to the presence of works by the greatest 16th and 17th-century Italian Masters.
The oldest section of the monumental complex (which constitutes a great part of the Fondazione) dates back to the beginning of 1500 and features the Manica Lunga, which used to be dormitory to the Benedictine monks, and the Cypress Cloister, both splendid examples of Renaissance architecture by Giovanni and Andrea Buora.
The second relevant intervention on the architecture of San Giorgio Maggiore was by Andrea Palladio, who worked on the Island from 1560 on, building the actual Church of San Giorgio, the Palladian Cloister, completed after his death, and the Cenacolo Palladiano (the magnificent refectory, restored in 2012, considered the most remarkable room in terms of architectural history) where Paolo Veronese painted The Wedding at Cana, an artwork recently returned – in a facsimile – to its original location.
Baldassarre Longhena completed the majestic monumental complex with two Baroque interventions: the grand staircase, which gave access to the abbots’ lodging, completed in 1645, and the Library completed in 1671, which occupies the entire length of the upper wing shared by the two cloisters. Its magnificent wooden bookcases were designed by Baldassarre Longhena and carved byFranz Pauc.