School, therefore, to be understood as Brotherhood, Community, Association of a category. It should not be forgotten, however, that the initial purely religious purpose was soon flanked by the Corporate one. The Schools, in their secular life, also became real centres of power, a sort of club where the interests of the category and its members were strongly defended.
When were the Schools born?
Around the middle of the 1200s religious brotherhoods began to emerge in various parts of Italy. They were communities of lay people united by devotion to the saint to whom the confraternity was named. In the absence of real social assistance ("welfare"), the aim was to be able to provide for the needs of the most needy members (widows, orphans, the sick) through donations from the wealthiest, bequests and membership fees.
The custom also spread to the Venetian population giving birth to the Schools which were of 4 types:
Where the inhabitants of a parish used to gather in community
The Craft Schools were joined by the "National" ones.
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The importance of Venice as a commercial centre for the merchant traffic of Europe meant that many foreign communities were present, also eager to find a specific centre of aggregation useful to fight the nostalgia of their homeland, to be a reference and a help for people of the same nationality who foundthemselves passing through Venice as well as providing the same assistance to their needy confreres.
A multitude of other small Schools arose, such as the School of the Slaves (Dalmatians), the Lombards, the Germans, the Greeks, the Albanians and so on.
The Large Schools
Initially, the Schools were mostly made up of middle-class people. The nobles, eager to make their talents of "good Christian" look good and to join together, began between 1400 and 1500 to join the various Schools of the Battuti that, for the abundance of economic means available and for their size were then called Schools Great.
The Venetian Schools - Real caskets full of precious artistic works of art
The desire of the brothers to make their school more and more beautiful favored their artistic and architectural development. The most famous architects of the calibre of Jacopo Sansovino, Pietro Lombardo, Mauro Codussi, Antonio Abbondi "Lo Scarpagnino" were called to design its construction, while painters such as Carpaccio, Tintoretto, Titian, Giovanni Bellini, Giambattista Tiepolo, just to mention the most famous, were called to embellish its interiors forever.
The Venetian Schools - What is left today?
Of the hundreds of Schools (some historical documents speak of over 400) there are very few left today, but spending a few hours to visit them is a must, and not only for art lovers.
The remaining Schools are 4 "Big Schools":
and a "National School":
Scuola Grande di San Rocco
You cannot leave Venice without visiting the Scuola di San Rocco, one of the most beautiful buildings in the interior of Venice and a true apotheosis of Jacopo Robusti called Il Tintoretto. The great genius of Venetian painting has dedicated many years of his life in its rooms, leaving an impressive series of paintings. The large painting of the Crucifixion, in the hall of the hotel, alone is worth a visit. Once you leave the school, the Church of San Rocco awaits you, also embellished by the great paintings by Tintoretto.
Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni
Much smaller in size than the Scuole Grandi, the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, the only surviving
"National School", has a very fascinating atmosphere and contains a large cycle of paintings by Vittor Carpaccio.
It is really worth spending an hour inside.
Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista
Located a few steps from the Frari Church, it is the oldest Venetian "Scuola Grande".
At its entrance one of the greatest masterpieces of Venetian architecture: the marble portal by Pietro Lombardo
(another masterpiece of his is the presbytery of the Church of Miracles).
Scuola Grande dei Carmini
Work of the architects Francesco Caustello and Baldassarre Longhena (the same who designed the Basilica
della Salute) is located a few steps from the famous Campo Santa Margherita. Inside, numerous works by
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