Cini Foundation - San Giorgio Island - Venice
The Cini Foundation is located in front of the San Marco Basin on the Island of San Giorgio and is very active in the cultural scene of the city offering a rich calendar of exhibitions, musical events, conferences and dance and music performances also taking advantage of a special space like the Green Theater.
The Cini Foundation was the first private body to focus on the development of humanistic research, in a period marked by the emphasis on technology, science and economics, as was the Second World War.
Over the decades the importance of the foundation as a cultural center of the city of Venice was consolidated: with eight Research Institutes dedicated respectively to History of Art, Music, History of the Society and the Venetian State, Comparative Music, Letters, Theater and Melodramma, Vivaldi, "Venice and the East" and "Venice and Europe", the Giorgio Cini Foundation promotes exhibitions, conferences, seminars, courses, books and periodical publications and preserves priceless funds and archives.
The Island of San Giorgio Maggiore has always belonged to the Memmo family, a member of the "old houses" or those patrician families that participated in the election of the first doge Paoluccio Anafesto in 697, and therefore called Isola Memmia. Here in ancient times there arose a small wood church dedicated to San Giorgio that changed the name of the island then indicated as Maggiore to distinguish it from San Giorgio in Alga, a small island southeast of Venice nowadays in abandonment.
The island was then donated in 982 by the Doge Tribuno Memmo to a Benedictine monk, Giovanni Morosini, who decided to build the monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore becoming its first abbot. Over the centuries, the monastery grew to become one of the major European centers in the theological, cultural and artistic fields. Here in 1177, after the unfavorable battle against the imperial troops with the Lombard League in which the Municipalities were established, Pope Alexander III and the Emperor Federico Barbarossa stopped during the historic meeting sponsored by the Doge Sebastiano Ziani in which the Peace of Venice was signed in May of 1177.
Later the monastery became so rich that in the sixteenth century they commissioned the Palladio to design the majestic Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore (1566-1610), built immediately after the refectory of the monastery where he found the great painting The Wedding of Cana by Paolo Veronese, today at the Louvre after the lootings perpetrated by Napoleon Bonaparte to the city.
In 1800 the monastery was the seat of the conclave that after months of voting elected Pope Pius VII but in 1806 it was suppressed by the Napoleonic laws and became a weapon deposit throughout the nineteenth century, knowing at last a period of degradation along the course of the decades later.
At this time of crisis ended Vittorio Cini, Count of Monselice and entrepreneur of incredible riches, which obtained the island in concession by the Italian government.
Conte Cini founded the Giorgio Cini Foundation (1951) on the island in memory of his son Giorgio, who died in tragic circumstances in a flight accident in Cannes on 31 August 1949.
After an impressive restoration of the island, the ancient Benedictine monastery became the seat of a center of educational, cultural and social activities. Grown over more than fifty years compared to its initial status of study of Venetian civilization, the Foundation is today a center of research and contemporary culture of international level in which the leading scholars from all over the world take part.
How to reach the Cini Foundation
By vaporetto take line 2 with stop at the Island of San Giorgio.
The Cini Foundation is located in front of the exit of the pier.
Hours: from 9.00 to 17.00; closed Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets: full € 10; reduced € 8. Free for children up to 14 accompanied by parents and residents of the City of Venice on Sunday afternoons.
Website: Fondazione Cini