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Photographer's Note

Standing on the waterfront of Piazza San Marco, the evening light on the church of San Giorgio Maggiore was a feast for the eyes. I am not sure how the timber stumps used by the Gondolas would look. Regardless, I stopped the urge to crop them.
Every visitor to the Piazza San Marco sees it, and some take a picture of it, but only a handful bother to take the quick vaporetto ride across the Canal to visit the church of San Giorgio Maggiore. This is a shame, since they miss one of the glorious architectural beauties of Venice. It is decorated with works by Tintoretto, Carpaccio, and Jacopo Bassano and that boasts spectacular views from the bell tower.

History:
The island was originally known as the Island of Cypresses; a monastery dedicated to St. Benedict opened there in the 10th century and eventually became one of the most powerful and wealthy Benedictine monasteries in the world. A Christmas Day earthquake in 1223 destroyed the entire religious complex which was quickly rebuilt. Several churches preceded the one we see today which was built between 1566 and 1610; it was Andrea Palladio’s first complete church (he had worked previously on the façade of San Francesco della Vigna).
An indication of the status of this monastery is the fact that the Papal Conclave of 1800 was held here after Napoleon invaded Rome and the Vatican fled to Venice to elect a new Pope. Soon after, this complex was suppressed– the monks were dispersed, their treasures plundered, and their finest painting (Veronese’s Wedding at Cana) taken to the Louvre. The church was only closed for a couple of years while the monastery was closed for over a century, during which time it was used as military barracks and fell into disrepair. Today, the monks are back and share the island with the Cini Foundation, a cultural research organization that has restored the entire complex.

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Additional Photos by Arunava Ghose (Highmountains) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 278 W: 37 N: 570] (2255)
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