One of the most mesmerizing spaces in Europe, the tiny main hall of this scuola once served as a meeting house for Venice’s Dalmatian community (Dalmatia is a region of Croatia, and schiavoni means “Slavs”). Venetian scuole, or schools, were Middle Age guilds that brought together merchants and craftspeople from certain trades or similar religious devotions. Guilds functioned as social clubs, credit unions, even sources of spiritual guidance, and many commissioned elaborate headquarters, hiring the best artists of the day to decorate them. The scuole that remain in Venice today house some of the city’s finest art treasures. Built beside its sister church, San Giovanni di Malta, in the early 16th century, San Giorgio degli Schiavoni offers a big reason to visit: to admire the awe-inspiring narrative painting cycle on its walls, created by Renaissance master Vittore Carpaccio between 1502 and 1509. The paintings depict the lives of the Dalmatian patron saints George (of dragon-slaying fame), Tryphon, and Jerome. In the upper hall (Sala dell’Albergo), you’ll also find Carpaccio’s masterful “Vision of St. Augustine.”

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