Highlights of this tour

  • Giovanni Bellini and Titian at the Frari Church
  • Tintoretto at Scuola Grande San Rocco
  • With an introduction to Venetian Painting and to the Venetian Renaissance


VENETIAN RENAISSANCE PAINTING – This tour gives the opportunity to art lovers to see some of the most significant Venetian paintings still on their original settings.

In the enormous Franciscan church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari – universally known as ‘Frari’ = friars – it is possible to decipher the dynamics of family patronage, understanding the meaning and functions of altarpieces and monuments.

The two major painters here are Titian and Giovanni Bellini.

Titian painted two absolute masterpieces, the Assumption of the Virgin for the main altar and the Pala Pesaro for the Pesaro family of San Stae. The great painter is also buried here.

Giovanni Bellin produced the magnificent Triptych of the Sacristy for the San Beneto branch of the Pesaros.

The Frari contains an enormous number of paintings, sculptures, tombs, and is famous for its splendid 15th century wooden choir. Not far away is the imposing façade of the Scuola Grande San Rocco. It was the seat of a wealthy and influential lay fraternity whose purpose was to assist its members in difficult circumstances, with a special accent on helping during the epidemics.

St Rock, whose body is preserved in the adjoining church, was one of the most invoked protectors from the plague. It is the only Scuola Grande that was not suppressed (and looted) by Napoleon, and is still an active institution today.

The great genius here is Jacopo Tintoretto. His cycle of canvases, fruit of 24 years of collaboration with the brotherhood, is considered the painter’s most important group of works. The great artist enjoyed a great freedom of expression and produced some of his most evocative and powerful visions here.

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The state of preservation of these and other artworks in the Scuola and the bulk of documents in its archives allow a complete reconstruction of the facts concerning the fraternity’s relations with the artists involved.

Our Venetian Renaissance Painting tour will be of course the occasion for a survey on Venetian Renaissance painting. The traditional contrast between Venetian ‘color’ and Tuscan ‘drawing’ will be explained and commented. The importance of the Byzantine tradition on one side and that of German and Flemish influences on the other will be taken into consideration.

Discussing the paintings will give the opportunity for a ‘full immersion’ in the social and economic context, highlighting the peculiarities of Venice with respect to the other Italian realities. Society, family relations, spiritual and religious life, interaction between artist and patrons will be taken into consideration.

The visit to San Rocco will also inevitably deal with the plague and its impact on the life of artists such as Titian and Tintoretto.

Cost of this tour

  • This tour lasts three hours and costs 330 euros up to six people (not per person), only private parties.
  • For larger parties send us an email
  • Museum fees per person: Church of the Frari 5 euros; Scuola Grande di San Rocco 10 euros (full rate) – 8 euros (reduced rate)

Dress Code and advice

  • Short sleeves and kneee high pants and skirts are ok
  • No sleeveless and no shorts/skirts  above the knee
  • Better if you don’t bring any backpack with you.
  • The Frari Church is not accessible to visits on Sunday mornings (still an active church, used for Mass)