The seven scuole grandi (great schools) “played an important role in the social history of Venice,” says Venice Insider. The scuole -- powerful institutions that were accessible to the majority of Venetian citizens -- were placed under the secular jurisdiction of the Venetian government, “so their religious devotion had something of a civic character and so they were seen as agents of social cohesion,” explains Churches of Venice. “They were almost always based in monument sites, located near the church of their patron saint,” explains Venice Insider. “The buildings were designed by famous architects and decorated with the finest pieces of art … if you love Venice, history and art, you should certainly visit one.”
Scuola Grande di San Rocco is the grandest and richest of them all, covered in paintings by Tintoretto. Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista was founded in 1261 and is “the most ancient of the still existing scuole," writes Time Out. Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, on the ground floor hall of this scuola, “is one of the most beautiful rooms in Europe,” says Rough Guide. Scuola Grande dei Carmini extended “hospitality to destitute and wayward travellers from the 13th century right through to the time of Napoleon’s occupation of Venice,” notes Lonely Planet. Scuola Grande di San Marco, now the civic hospital, was established in 1260 and features “magnificent trompe l’oeil panels by Tullio and Antonio Lombardo,” writes Venice Insider, and is one of the finest examples of Lombardo’s work. It’s possible to visit the main entrance hall, the library and the medical museum.
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