SCUOLA GRANDE DI SAN ROCCO, Exterior

Audio File length: 2.31
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

 

Hi, I'm Debbie, your personal guide. Together with MyWoWo, I'd like to welcome you to one of the wonders of the world.

Today I'll accompany you through the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, which is one of the most exciting buildings in Venice!

If you're wondering why the palace before you is called a "School", you should know that "Schools" in Venice were actually social institutions and were enormously important for the life of the city, especially between the 1400s and 1700s. The "Schools" were similar to modern trade unions: corporations, associations of people doing the same job - but also, sometimes, foreign resident communities in the lagoon. There were six "Scuole Grandi", or Great Schools, that were devoted to providing charity or welfare, and tens of thousands of people participated. Even today, for example, the Scuola Grande di San Marco is a hospital. Although they were not religious societies, the Schools almost always had the name of a saint. Over the centuries, as you will see, the locations of these brotherhoods were enriched by extraordinary painting cycles, which constitute one of the most original characteristics of Venetian art.

The Scuola Grande di San Rocco, which is located at the Basilica of the Frari and next to the church dedicated to the saint, is one of the most famous, not only for the building's Renaissance splendor, but especially for the presence of dozens of paintings by Tintoretto. Here you can admire a real "personal show" of the great painter, who has probably devoted the best of his talent here.

Before entering, notice the School's beautiful façade: it's a jewel of the beginning of the 16th century, rich in refined decorations, especially around the elegant windows. Note how the columns that are detached from the façade create a beautiful effect of light and dark and give the whole building a sense of noble Classicism. I also suggest taking a look at the right side of the school, which is reflected on a rior: although it's less dramatic than the façade, it's still very impressive.

 

FUN FACT: in the 18th century, a famous painting exhibition was held each summer in front of the school and the church of San Rocco. A temporary canopy was set up to protect visitors from the heat, which was hung on wooden poles; if you look on the ground you can still see the holes in the pavement where the stakes had been planted!

 

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