Just four hundred meters divide Piazza San Marco from this other little jewel of the lagoon: the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. The first building you will see when arriving here is the imposing church of the same name designed by architect Andrea Palladion in 1565.
The history of this island is very ancient and troubled, passing from the Benedictine monks to the Napoleonic domination up to the Austrian one. And what was once a monastery became a prison, then a depot of arms, a factory and a military district.
Today on the island you can admire the imposing basilica with artistic works of absolute value, including the last canvases painted by Tintoretto, and the ancient Benedictine buildings. The latter are managed by the Giorgio Cini Foundation which took care of the restoration and redevelopment of the rooms; they host cultural events and conferences, as well as libraries and a photo library. They can be visited with guided tours organized by the Foundation itself.
If you want to have an unbeatable view of Venice and its lagoon, just go up to the bell tower where the gaze can sweep 360 degrees. Do not forget to visit the Borges Labyrinth, a large garden where over 3250 boxwood plants reproduce the name of the Argentine poet and seen from above it looks like an open book.
ACTV public transport connects San Giorgio Maggiore to Venice and the nearby Giudecca island, from which it is divided by the narrow Canale della Grazia.