This was the first building raised to house the Scuola di San Rocco, when the Confraternity settled permanently in the area bordering the Franciscan Frari monastery in 1489.
The building of the Scuola
Actually, the Confraternity of St Roch, after founding their Scuola in May 1478 had already concluded an initial agreement with the Conventual Friars Minor of the Frari ceding them the use of an undeveloped piece of land behind the monastery, to build their headquarters.
Subsequently a small church and a Scuola were put up but quickly abandoned. The Confraternity moved first to San Samuele and then to San Silvestro while the crumbling church was rebuilt and the modest brick and timber construction, which was to become today’s Scoletta, enlarged and embellished. Jacopo de’ Barbari’s celebrated aerial view from 1500 shows a small building that had already been the subject of two further renovations, the first in 1492 and the second in 1494.
The result of these expansion programmes was a two-floor construction with entrance on the ground floor and the chapter’s meeting hall on the upper floor, similar to the disposition of other Scuole Piccole. The main façade looking onto the campo is plastered with natural marmorino veneziano, interrupted by doors and windows framed with Istrian stone, and a niche for a statuette of the titular saint.
Over the next twenty years, due to a rapid growth in membership (which had reached 500 by 1514) and the increasing importance of the Confraternity, the Scoletta came to be considered inadequate and in 1517 construction of the Scuola Grande got underway.
After a radical overhaul, the Scoletta is now utilised for temporary exhibitions.