From 1261 “Scuole Grandi”, similar in most respects to mediaeval guilds in Britain, were constituted as lay confraternities which attracted largely middle-class citizens. Each was dedicated to a patron saint, and their purpose was mainly mutual help between members and the conduct of charitable works.
On the annual feast day of their patron they held a procession in his honour, and on the feast of Saint Mark they processed to the basilica, led by their banners.
The scuole were identified as Grandi (Great) or Minori (Lesser), and also included confraternities for arts and crafts, the trades, and for the various nationalities that settled in Venice.
The Grandi Scuole, of which there were seven, had as their centres imposing buildings richly decorated with paintings by great Venetian artists such as Jacopo Robusti (Tintoretto) or Vittore Carpaccio. During your visit we will spend some time in the Scuola di San Rocco and the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista.