The "Scuola Dalmata"

None of the Dalmatians that found this wonderful Scuola could imagine that the institution they applied for recognition, would survive the fall of the Venetian Republic itself.

 Ancient picture of the Scuola, before the construction of the bridge, on its left side.

Ancient picture of the Scuola, before the construction of the bridge, on its left side.

When I go around for a Photo Tour in Venice, and even when I am alone, I fell more like a “street boy”. Every time I can, I go around this city looking for life and looking for what still nowadays exist, and resists, after centuries. I like to know what was Venice, in order to understand better what it now is. I’ve been surprised dozen of times, simply because one day I decided to look beyond a door I never notice before, or ringing a bell because I knew in that particular house lives someone with an interesting story to tell me.

 The relief with colors above the main door

The relief with colors above the main door

With the Scuola Dalmata was exactly such the case, I passed in front of it many times, without going inside, but finally I discovered some treasures. Venetians always had, with Dalmatians of the opposite shore of Adriatic sea, trade relations, which became more and more intense when Dalmatia passed under the dominion of the Republic of Venice, in 1409. Dalmatians came together on 19 March 1451, and asked the Council of X to be allowed to meet in Brotherhood. This request was directed to obtain permission to take care of sailors, soldiers and Dalmatians immigrants, who find themselves in difficulty, far from their homes. Many of them served Venice, and died or were disabled after a battle, without subsidies or aid. None of the Dalmatians that found this wonderful Scuola could imagine that the institution they applied for recognition, would survive the fall of the Venetian Republic itself. Unlike the other confraternities in Venice, the Scuola Dalmata is under the protection of three saints: St. George, St. Tryphon and St. Jerome, and then, at the beginning of '500, the Dalmatians erected at their expense the current school, enriching it with paintings by Vittore Carpaccio and adorning it with the current facade Giovanni De Zan. Before going inside, look carefully above, over the front door and you'll see how the relief depicting the Virgin enthroned between St. John the Baptist and St. Catherine, still has traces of the original color. Under this relief by Pietro da Salò, follower of Sansovino's, there is St. George slaying the dragon. I leave the explanation of the cycle of paintings by Vittore Carpaccio to those who know it better than me, and let’s see instead what I discovered as a photo-detective.

 The mysterious hand inside the Scuola

The mysterious hand inside the Scuola

An interesting detail is the font you can find in the end of the downstairs room, before the steps that leads you to the first floor. An unknown hand put it in that position, but it has not always been there. Indeed, I found out that it comes from a very famous place in Venice but, for now, I will not reveal that place. After Napoleon robberies, what remains of the treasure of the Dalmatian School , is now visible in a glass case on the ground floor on the right.

 Golden cross, one of the few thing remaining of the treasure

Golden cross, one of the few thing remaining of the treasure

Upstairs you can admire the banner of the Scuola, with depicted inside the only St. George. But what has always intrigued me, is to meet who nowadays represents all this. So I introduce you the Guardian Grando of the Scuola Dalmata , with the cloak and the keys to the Scuola. Very kind person and of great culture, I still thank him for patiently explaining me the glories and vicissitudes of this extraordinary place in Venice, enriching the story with details that I would have never been able to find elsewhere.

 The Guardian Grando of the Scuola Dalmata

The Guardian Grando of the Scuola Dalmata

eOne last thing: in front of the school today is the bridge Della Commenda, built in 1909, if I remember correctly. In the old photo at the beginning of tis article you can see how, before the construction of the bridge, there were two marble tombstones, removed to make way for the bridge itself . If you want to try an interesting treasure hunt, go inside the school and look closely, one of the two marble stones is still around!