Venice is indeed a city of art and culture, boasting a rich history that spans centuries. One of the most significant cultural institutions in Venice is the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a beautiful building that has been a center of artistic and social activity for centuries.
If you're planning to visit Venice, then you must add the Scuola Grande di San Rocco to your itinerary.
In this article, we will provide you with an in-depth understanding of this amazing building, its history, and the reasons why it's a must-visit attraction in Venice!
Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice: the aim of the Scuole Grandi
Venice has a unique tradition of Scuole Grandi, which were charitable institutions that combined social, religious, and cultural activities.
The historic Scuole Grandi were established around the 13th century and were usually associated with a particular trade, profession or saint. They served as a meeting point for members of a particular group, providing a place for worship, socializing, and traditional charitable duties.
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco was established in 1478 and is dedicated to St. Roch, a 14th-century saint who is known for his devotion to the plague-stricken (he is the patron saint of the plagues sufferers).
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco was founded by a group of wealthy Venetian citizens who wanted to work together for the common good of the community. In the past, it was renowned for its patronage of the arts, and it was a center of artistic and cultural activity in the city.
The Scuola Grande di S. Rocco, the only one to have been spared by the Napoleonic edicts and to continue to operate to the present day, today has more than 350 Chapter Confraternity members who meet once a year. Among their main tasks is to safeguard the historical and artistic heritage, mainly represented by the little church of S. Rocco and, of course, the seat of the Scuola Grande.
The building was designed by Pietro Bon, who was one of the most prominent architects in Venice at the time. The interior of the building is adorned with stunning frescoes and paintings by Tintoretto, one of the most celebrated artists in Venice.
But let's discover more about this prominent building and why it is a must see destination of the city.
The Magnificent Exteriors of Scuola Grande di San Rocco
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture, with its beautiful exteriors that are adorned with intricate sculptures and decorative elements.
As you go inside, you'll notice that one of the most striking features is the impressive staircase, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Venice. The staircase is made of white Istrian stone and is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures. As you climb the stairs, you'll notice the beautiful frescoes that line the walls, depicting scenes from the life of St. Roch.
A look inside the building
The interiors of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco are even more stunning than the exteriors, boasting some of the finest artworks in Venice.
The building is divided into four main areas, the Sala dell'Albergo, the Sala Capitolare, the Sala Terrena and the Sala del Tesoro.
It was the first to be decorated by Tintoretto.
The Sala dell'Albergo is one of the most interesting rooms inside the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.
The frescoes depict scenes from the life of St. Roch, as well as other religious figures and allegories of the other Scuole Grandi.
One of the most celebrated paintings is the Passione di Cristo, where Jesus Crucified illuminates the darkness.
The Sala Capitolare was used as a meeting place for the members of the Scuola. It also was decorated by Tintoretto.
On the walls are ten Gospel episodes, as well as two smaller canvases with St. Roch and St. Sebastian and the altar cloth dedicated to the Apparition of St. Roch.
The Hall is also lined along the walls with walnut covers adorned with striking allegorical sculptures, and sculptures with a moralizing message. Also along the perimeter are 18th-century cabinets, which held books and documents, whose doors are decorated with bas-reliefs.
The Sala Terrena, the atrium of the Scuola, was the last to be decorated by Tintoretto.
Here are eight paintings representing episodes from the life of the Virgin and the childhood of Jesus.
Interestingly, the Sala Terrena and the Chapter House are connected by the monumental staircase mentioned earlier. Here is a painting by Titian depicting the Annunciation.
The Sala del Tesoro
The Treasure Room was added in the 18th century. The Treasure Room-originally second in wealth only to that of St. Mark's Basilica, now houses liturgical objects.
It also shows two artworks by Tiepolo.
Where the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is located and how to get there
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is located in the San Polo district of Venice, not far from the Grand Canal. The Scuola is in Campo San Rocco, 3054, 30125 Venice, Italy.
There are several ways to get to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. One of the easiest ways is to take a vaporetto (water bus) to the San Tomà stop, which is located just a short walk from the Scuola. The vaporetto can be taken from various locations around Venice, including the train station and Piazzale Roma.
Another option is to walk to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco from other parts of Venice. The building is located in the heart of the historic city center and can be easily reached on foot from many of Venice's main attractions.
Once you arrive at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, you can purchase tickets at the entrance to the building. Guided tours are also available for those who want to learn more about the history and artwork of the Scuola. The Scuola is open to visitors every day from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, with the exception of certain holidays.
Would you come here and visit its beauty?
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a treasure trove of art and architecture that's worth exploring in detail.
Its breathtaking interiors, including the Sala Superiore and the Sala Inferiore, contain some of the finest artworks in Venice. A visit to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is an experience that will leave any art lover in awe of the city's cultural legacy.