Like many medieval saints, French-born San Rocco (St. Roch) died young, but thanks to his work healing the sick in the 14th century, his cult became associated with the power to cure the plague and other serious illnesses. When his body was brought to Venice in 1485, this scuola began to reap the benefits, and by 1560 the current complex was completed. Work soon began on more than 50 paintings by Tintoretto, and today the scuola is primarily a shrine to the masterful Venetian artist. You enter at the Ground Floor Hall (Sala Terrena), where the paintings were created between 1583 and 1587, led by one of the most frenzied “Annunciations” ever made. The “Flight into Egypt” here is undeniably one of Tintoretto’s greatest works. Upstairs is the Great Upper Hall (Sala Superiore), where Old Testament scenes such as “Moses Striking Water From the Rock” cover the ceiling. The paintings around the walls, based on the New Testament, are generally regarded as a master class of perspective, shadow, and color. In the Sala dell’Albergo, an entire wall is adorned by Tintoretto’s mind-blowing “Crucifixion” (as well as his “Glorification of St. Roch,” on the ceiling, the painting that actually won him the contract to paint the scuola). Way up in the loft, the Tesoro (Treasury) is a tiny space dedicated primarily to gold reliquaries containing venerated relics such as the fingers of St. Peter and St. Andrew, and one of the thorns that crowned Christ during the crucifixion.

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