The Scuola Grande di San rocco is one of the six Scuole Grandi that have been in the city for centuries.
It started in 1478 to help poors and sicks, especially during outbreaks of the plague.
San Rocco, or St. Rock (1296-1327), was born in France and spent his life looking after palgue sufferers. It is said that during his stay in Piacenza he too became ill yet managed to survive. Hovewer, when he returned home he was so thin and looked so terrible that nobody recognised him and he was imprisoned, Only his faithful dog kept him company. This is why St. Rock is often represented with a small dog. In 1485 his body was moved to Venice and he became one of the protectors of the city, His feast day is still celebrated on August 16th every year and the "tendon del doge", a sort of large canopy, is erected in the campo.
The Scuola di San Rocco was built between 1489 and 1549, but its present look is the result of alterations that have taken place over the years.
When the building was completed, the brothers lauched a competition to find a painter to decorate the rooms. The participants had to submit a sketch (a rough outline of the general idea) of St. Rock acending into heaven.
He submitted a finished painting claiming that it was his way of making a sketch and, to cap it all, he gave the paiting to the school as a present. Needless to say, he won teh competition!
Free Walk in Venice by Isola Tour loves the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.
Discover Dorsoduro, Venice - The Pugni Bridge !
Departing from Campo San Barnaba, turn left. After a short walk along fondamenta Gerardini, you will come to the "barca", a floating fruits and vegetable shop.
But let's talk about the Pugni bridge. In the past, until 1705, the citizens of Venice were divided into two different factions, the Castellani (those who lived in the Castello, St. Mark - San Marco and Dorsoduro zones) and the Nicolotti (who lived in the Cannaregio, San Polo and Santa Croce areas).
Clashes were frequent and often took place on the city's bridge. These fights, which at times involved hundreds of people, were not repressed or punished by the government, who merely decided the rules. The congflicts could only take place between September and Christmas and they followed a precise set of rules. Once the challenge had been made, referees were chosen, as was the bridge where the fight would take place. On the chosen day, each faction would arrive to a roll of drums and the sounding of trumpets and would present its champion who either fought alone or in small groups.
The real war only began after this. It consisted of a gigantic free-for-all with hundreds of men battling to get to and claim the centre of the bridge.
Fisticuffs were allowed and, until 1574, sticks too. These were sharp people died. The picture you found on the bridge is the shape of a foot which marked teh contestant's startimg point.
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