Summer 1955. Vittorio Cini shows a model of the island
of San Giorgio Maggiore to Irene of Greece On 20 April 1951 Vittorio Cini created the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice in memory of his son, who had died in an aeroplane crash on 31 August 1949. The idea of setting up a cultural institute on the Island of San Giorgio had been suggested to Cini by various friends, including Nino Barbantini, who had already promoted the restoration of the Castle of Monselice in 1935-1940 (donated to the Foundation in 1971) and who later became the Foundation's first president. The Foundation made it possible for Cini to satisfy a life-long passion that had already taken concrete form in the art collections at his Venetian palazzo and the castle in Monselice, and in other projects such as the donation of the Palazzo di Renata di Francia to the city of Ferrara for "continuing educational purposes" (it would later be granted to the University) and the creation of the 'Casa Giorgio Cini', a cultural institute in the family home donated to the Jesuits in 1950.
1962 conference on the "Venice problem"Cini saw the Foundation as an important cultural and political possibility for Venice. In a conference on the 'problem of Venice' organised in October 1962 on the Island of San Giorgio, Cini supported safeguarding the 'insularity' of the lagoon as a cultural incubator and placed emphasis on the mainland's role in financing the city's revitalisation. Venice was to provide culture and direction, Marghera and Mestre the strength of production and services. The idea was sustained by Cini's theories on the division of skills and labour, from which he only strayed once, as he himself acknowledged, in the 'colossal error' of backing the bridge linking the city and the mainland (inaugurated in April 1933).
Vittorio Cini with the Patriarch Angelo Roncalli Venice was also symbolic of Cini's link with the Catholic Church, which revealed itself in various ways, including the leadership of the Procuracy of St Mark between 1955 and 1967, during which he supported important restoration work in the Basilica of St Mark under the guidance of F. Forlati. In these years he formed a close relationship with Popes John XXIII and Paul VI.
After the death of his first wife in June 1959, Cini married Maria Cristina Dal Pozzo D'Annone on 16 February 1967. In the last years of his life he was awarded numerous honours including the 'cavalierato del lavoro' (4 June 1959), membership to the Académie des beaux-arts de l'Institut de France (9 October 1968) and the collar of the Supremo Ordine della SS Annunziata (11 March 1975).