07 Nov San Giorgio Maggiore – view Venice from above
San Giorgio Maggiore is a small island of Venice. Looking out over the water from St. Mark’s square, you will see the island and it’s church of the same name. Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore has a bell tower that offers magnificent views of Venice from above. We found it a little difficult finding just how to get over there so here is what we learned.
How to get to San Giorgio Maggiore from St. Mark’s square
The vaporetto is the public ferry system in Venice also called the waterbus, it is operated by ACTV. The waterbus line 2 runs to S.Giorgio. There are other stops but we chose to go from St. Mark’s square as we assumed it would be cheaper (it’s actually not) . The ferry terminal is named San Zaccaria, there are several, each with a different letter. The one you need is B, which is located a bit of a walk away from St. Mark’s square. Stroll along the water and over two bridges until you arrive at San Zaccaria B.
Purchase your tickets at the terminal. There is no ticket booth on San Girorgio Maggiore so be sure to get return tickets or onward to elsewhere. Return tickets cost 10 euro each (Oct 2018). There is also an option for a 75 minute ticket for 7.50 euro but you would need to make sure you are at a terminal before the time is up.
Tickets need to be validated before boarding, a machine is located on the ferry platform.
I couldn’t find information online while in Venice but here is the ACTV waterbus timetable, click on line 2.
Riding the Vaporetto
We were too tight to pay 80 euro for a gondola ride so it was good to be able to be out on the water in Venice even for a brief moment. The journey from St. Mark’s to San Giorgio Maggiore is a very quick one and we did wonder whether it was worth 20 euro (2 return tickets) but it was interesting seeing all the different boats coming past. You could get on at a different stop if you want to ride the vaporetto longer. There are seats in an undercover area, we chose to stand in the open air area.
What’s on the island?
San Giorgio Maggiore has an art and culture scene with a foundation centre, concert hall, theatre and a glass museum. If I’d have known at the time, I would have visited the glass museum, entrance is free. During our time there, the foundation had an outdoor exhibition of ten chapels created by ten architects from around the world.
Chiesa Di San Giorgio Maggiore
The church on the island was designed by Andre Palladio and completed in 1610 after his death. The marble exterior is stunningly white and shines bright, visible from the other side of the canal. Inside the church contains paintings by the artist Tintoretto.
The bell tower
The campanile or bell tower of the church of San Giorgio Maggiore is accessible via lift. Entry is through the church, where you will find the ticket counter. We paid 6 euro each and got in line for the elevator. Only 6 people are allowed up at one time, there was only one group in front of us so we didn’t have to wait long.
View Venice from above
Was the trip over to San Giorgio Maggiore worth it?
We felt that 20 euro for 2 return tickets on a very short journey was a little steep. You could board at one of the other stops and be out on the water longer. We did enjoy being able to see St. Mark’s square from across the water and getting there turned out to be simple once we found the right ferry terminal. The bell tower of Chiesa Di San Giorgio Maggiore offers spectacular views and we were able to escape the crazy crowded St. Mark’s area.
Click here to read about our one night stay in Venice and how to avoid the crowds.