Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice

Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice (must see)

Of all the religious fraternities of Venice known as “scuole”, none other is as richly decorated as Scuola Grande. Back in the early 16th century, Venice's own Tintoretto, then 46 years of age, won a competition to decorate the building. The job took him several decades until his death in 1594, aged 76, over which period he had created more than 50 epic canvases.

Art critic John Ruskin used to call Scuola Grande “one of the three most precious buildings in Italy”, and it's not hard to imagine why he resorted to such hyperbole, given the overwhelming effect it produces.

The relief of the sick had been the main goal of the fraternity right from the outset in 1478. It had been going for seven years till the body of St Roch or Rocco was brought to Venice from Germany, and the ensued boom of donations was so great that in 1489 the fraternity acquired the status of “scuola grande”. In 1527 the city was hit by an outbreak of plague, and the Scuola’s revenue rocketed to record highs with the money pouring in from the people hoping to secure St Rocco's protection against the disease. This financial intake eventually paid for both the construction of the building and the amazing cycle of Tintoretto’s paintings inside.

Although Tintoretto cycle begins with the “Annunciation” picture located in the lower room, to appreciate his progression as an artist, it is best to start in the smaller room on the upper floor – called Sala dell’Albergo – housing the “Crucifixion” painting which truly reveals the full magnitude of Tintoretto's masterhood.

Among other highlights here are the New Testament scenes, in the main upper hall, defying every convention of perspective, lighting, and color – a feat of relentless inventiveness that has very few equals in the Western art. Although Tintoretto was in his late 60s when he came to paint these scenes, they prove to be some of the finest he had ever created.

Why You Should Visit:
Rarely busy or crowded – an oasis of peace, culture, Venetian history...
Photos don't do it justice. You can't help but be overwhelmed by it.

Tip:
Make sure to get an audio guide as there are no descriptions.
Wear warm clothes (it gets quite cold inside) and take your camera.
The mirrors in the chapter room allow you to study the ceiling art without having to strain your neck.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-5:30pm
Ticket office closes at 5pm

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Venice, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Scuola Grande di San Rocco on Map

Sight Name: Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Sight Location: Venice, Italy
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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