The Frari Church and the Scuola Grande San Rocco: Sacred and Secular Art in Renaissance Venice
Away from the crowds, in the district of San Polo, a magnificent monumental ensemble houses some of Venice’s greatest artistic masterpieces.
The great gothic church of Santa Maria Gloriosa, familiarly known as the “Frari”, boasts a great wealth of art. The fifteenth-century marble screen separates the nave from the presbytery, and serves to frame Titian’s spectacular Assumption of Mary, and Giovanni Bellini’s golden triptych graces the altar of the sacristy chapel. The original choir stalls, exquisitely carved in wood and embellished with marquetry and gilding, number among the numerous works of sculpture to be found in the church. Other sculptural masterpieces include Donatello’s St John the Baptist, and many funerary monuments to Venice’s Doges, military leaders, and artists. Famous monuments in this unofficial Venetian pantheon are the tombs of Titian and Canova and the celebrated composer Claudio Monteverdi. The superb quality of its artworks, still located in their original setting, make this church a veritable treasury of Venetian history and art.
Just beyond the Frari is the imposing premises of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a lay brotherhood which survives to this day as a going concern. The confraternity still occupies the Renaissance edifice, with its elaborate facade embellished with multi-coloured marbles. Inside, the building is decorated throughout with the greatest masterpiece of the sixteenth-century artist Tintoretto – a complete cycle of Biblical narratives which culminates in the intense drama of the Crucifixion found in the Sala dell’Albergo on the upper floor.
The tour includes the Frari Church, also called Santa Maria Assunta and the Scuola Grande San Rocco.
Duration of the tour: 2 hours
Cost of tour: starting from 75 euro per hour up to 8 participants (+ entrance fees)