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Last updated: 29 March, 2024
Expert travel writer: Nicky Swallow

Venice’s scuole (schools) were established from the 13th century by the patrician class, partly as religious and charitable institutions, partly as guilds and confraternities, that had members from all walks of society.

By the 15th century, there were some 400 minor scuole and six more important, powerful ‘Scuole Grandi’ which commissioned the great artists of the day to beautify their headquarters. Carpaccio, for example, decorated San Giorgio agli Schiavoni and Tintoretto San Rocco.

Recommendations

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Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista

Venice, Veneto, Italy

Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista

Founded in 1261, the oldest scuola grande has a beautiful carved portal by Pietro Lombardo. Climb Mauro Codusso’s superb double ramp staircase to see the upper rooms decorated by Tiepolo’s son Giandomenico and others. The best paintings originally commissioned from Carpaccio and Bellini are now in the Accademia.

Adult price: £4

Best for ages 18+

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Scuola Grande di San Marco

Venice, Veneto, Italy

Scuola Grande di San Marco

This Renaissance confection built in 1495 is partly occupied by a hospital, but several restored rooms are open to the public. The facade sports trompe-l’oeil panels and the chapter house has a fabulous gilded coffered ceiling and houses cases containing ancient manuscripts and historical hospital records.

Adult price: £7

Best for ages 18+

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Scuola Grande di San Rocco

Venice, Veneto, Italy

Scuola Grande di San Rocco

The richest of the six Scuole Grandi, San Rocco commissioned Tintoretto to decorate its headquarters in 1564: he spent 23 years on his masterwork resulting in fabulous paintings filling walls and ceilings such as the Crucifixion, Annunciation and Flight into Egypt.

Best for ages 18+

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Scuola San Giorgio degli Schiavoni

Venice, Veneto, Italy

Scuola San Giorgio degli Schiavoni

The jewelbox-like Scuola Grande of St George of the Slaves houses one of Vittore Carpaccio’s best known painting cycles, illustrating the lives of saints George, Tryphone and Jerome (1502). These delightful, colourful works are full of vivid detail such as the little dog in St Augustine’s study.

Adult price: £4

Best for ages 18+

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Logistics

Price from: £-
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Venice

Veneto, Italy

Venice

Crammed with picturesque canals, Renaissance palazzos and artistic masterpieces, this unique and alluring city is heaven-on-earth for art lovers and romantics.