Fondazione Giorgio Cini

sights / Other

Fondazione Giorgio Cini information

Venice , Italy
Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore
+390 41 220 12 15
Getting there
Ferry: San Giorgio Maggiore
More information
adult/reduced incl guided tour €10/8
Opening hours
guided tours 10am-5pm Sat & Sun
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A defunct naval academy has been cleverly converted into a shipshape contemporary art gallery for the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, preserving the original double-height timber ceiling and going for a weatherbeaten-high-design look with luminous stairs in glass and rusted iron. Behind Palladio’s grand church extend the grounds of the former monastery with a long history, beginning in the 10th century with its Benedictine founders and finishing with the staircase and library built by Longhena in the 1640s.

The Chiostro dei Cipressi (named after the four cypress trees in the cloister) is the oldest extant part of the complex, completed in 1526 in an early-Renaissance style. One side is flanked by the cells of 56 Benedictine monks who long lived here. A stroll through the gardens leads to the outdoor Teatro Verde , built in the 1950s and sometimes used for summer performances. The Chiostro del Palladio (designed by the Renaissance star) is on the site of a grand library that had been destroyed by fire. It was donated by Cosimo de’ Medici in thanks for his stay here during his exile from Florence in 1433.

Palladio also designed the monumental refectory, where a Veronese masterpiece, Nozze di Cana (Wedding at Cana), took pride of place – at least until Napoleon shipped it off to Paris in 1797, where it remains in the Louvre today. But in 2009, filmmaker Peter Greenaway’s celebrated video art projections of Veronese’s painting ‘reinstalled’ the work in its rightful place.