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Scuole: Guilds & Confraternities

La Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista (Venise)

One of the most remarkable facts about the Republic of Venice is that the people, completely shut out of power by the ‘Locking’ of the Maggior Consiglio in 1297 never revolted in the 500 years that followed.

There were occasional riots, especially by the seafarers in the Renaissance, who were universally mistreated and often cheated. But by and large, the Venetians lived much better and with more security than their mainland counterparts.

When Napoleon barged in on the scene to introduce the democratic joys of the French Revolution, it was ironically the people who wept, whereas many patricians were so relieved they danced with the soldiers around the Liberty Tree in Piazza San Marco.

The secret of Venice’s popular success was a precocious sense of social justice. Venice’s merchant aristocrats, who never claimed any kind of divine right or natural superiority, knew the best way to retain their monopoly of power and their profits was to devote themselves to the public good: the only real privilege a patrician had was to serve the state.

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Misericordia church and its Scuole

Also known as Santa Maria di Valverde

San Tomà and its Campo

And the school of shoemakers, too

Scuola degli Albanesi

The Albanian confraternity

Scuola Grande dei Carmini

and its paintings by Giambattista Tiepolo

Scuola dell'Angelo Custode

A Lutheran Guardian Angel

Scuola Grande S. Giovanni Evangelista

One of the oldest in Venice

Scuola Grande di San Marco

And its historical medical museum and library

Scuola Grande di San Rocco

Venice's Sistine Chapel

Scuola Grande San Teodoro

Now used for Vivialdi concerts

Scuola San Giorgio degli Schiavoni

The school of fairy tale art

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra