The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is one of the many jewels in Venice’s crown, and, like the church of the Madonna della Salute, it represents the resilient spirit of the Venetians. San Rocco is in fact the patron saint of the plague, and the Scuola was founded in 1478 to help people afflicted by the disease.
Even if you spend just a few days in the city, you can’t help but visit it!
How to get to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco
It is very easy to reach the Scuola Grande di San Rocco from the Santa Lucia train station, or even from the various car parks or the bus terminal in Piazzale Roma.
There are several lines that connect the main cities in Veneto and the Mestre airport to Venice. Go to the website for easy access to the bus timetable.
It will take about ten minutes on foot from the station to reach one of the city’s must-see masterpieces.
Or if you want to try something a bit different, come by vaporetto and disembark at the San Tomà stop to reach the Scuola.
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco in the heart of the San Polo district
Located in the San Polo district, the Scuola is immediately recognisable thanks to its marvellous facade, which exemplifies the extraordinary beauty that Venice and its art achieved in the golden centuries of its splendour.
The columns are dominated by the Corinthian style, and the whole prospect is elevated by the windows filled with masterfully made statues.
At the end of the sixteenth century it was decided to enhance the interior rooms with frescoes and numerous other features. The best artists of the day were summoned to undertake the work, and to this day their names are included in Italy’s great art heritage, including the much-acclaimed Tintoretto.
If you wish to immerse yourself in a Venice with a mysterious spirit that never fails to intrigue, and return to a long-distant age, a tour of the Scuola di San Rocco’s various rooms could be just the thing for you.
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco: from the entrance staircase towards the Sala dell’Albergo and the Salone Superiore
In the very first rooms you can admire stuccos, frescoes, paintings and statues that are connected to the central figure of Christ, but also to various saints including the unmissable San Rocco, whose triumph takes centre stage in the Sala dell’Albergo.
The real beating heart of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, however, lies deeper: pass through magnificent walls of the Salone Superiore, and admire the ceiling, abundantly decorated against a backdrop of the most precious and dazzling gold tones. It is among the carvings which reveal the splendour of a bygone age that you can also admire the many paintings by Tintoretto, set right in the ceiling and adorning the most significant room of the Scuola, which has always been the nerve centre for public life connected to the building.
The paintings on the ceiling abound with events drawn from the great Western Biblical tradition. There are 21 paintings, and they depict episodes from both the famous life of Christ and also from the mysterious experiences of Abraham and many other Old Testament figures.
However, as one would expect, San Rocco is also the undisputed protagonist of the room. This is evident from the fact that all the wooden carvings in the altar which dominates the Salone Superiore are dedicated to the events of his life and his miracles.
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco: the Sala Terrena and the Tesoro
In addition to the Tesoro (the Scuola’s patrimony which flaunts its splendour) make sure you don’t miss multifaceted art in the Sala Terrena. This also includes many works by Tintoretto, again depicting scenes from the life of Christ and his earlier years on earth, starting from his conception, with numerous explications on the personalities of Mary and Joseph.
Some other practical information
Now that the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a museum, it can be visited by simply purchasing a ticket, which will never cost more than ten euros. In terms of organising your visit, there is no need to fret, you can visit the official website and find more info about opening and extraordinary closing times.