The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore
Almost every visitor to Venice sees it; and most snap a picture of it—yet only a handful of people ever bother taking the quick vaporetto ride over to visit the church of San Giorgio Maggiore. It is a shame, since they’re missing not only one of the architectural beauties of Venice but one that is decorated with works by Tintoretto, Carpaccio and Jacopo Bassano.
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San Giorgio Maggiore is a 16th-century Benedictine church and built between 1566 and 1610. The church is a basilica in the classical renaissance style and its brilliant white marble which shines above the blue water of the lagoon. It sits on its own little island.
There is a gold hand hanging in the center of the church. It is quite unique and like nothing, I have ever seen before. It is to represent the Hand of God, blessing you.
The first church on the island was built about 790, and in 982, the island was given to the Benedictine order by the Doge. The Benedictines founded a monastery there, but in 1223 all the buildings on the island were destroyed by an earthquake. The church and monastery were rebuilt after the earthquake. The church, which had a nave with side chapels, was not in the same position as the present church, but farther back at the side of a small square.