24-25 September 2016: European Heritage Days
On occasion of the European Heritage Days 2016, supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Venezia Arte, in association with the Council of Europe and the Coordinamento delle Attività Comuni delle Scuole Storiche di Venezia, organised three heritage walks:
In the Footsteps of Hospitality
Saturday 24 September, 2pm:
The Church of San Giacomo dall’Orio, the Church of San Pantalon and the Scuola Grande di San Rocco: a walk to reconstruct the connections between places and the surrounding area, bringing to light traditions and links with the past.
Saturday 24 September, 4pm:
The Scuola dei Dalmati, the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, the Scuola Grande di San Marco: a walk to listen to stories about identity, collective commitment to mutual assistance and providential actions.
Sunday 25 September, 2pm:
The Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, the Scuola Grande di Rocco and the Scuola Grande di Santa Maria del Carmelo: a walk following the thread of their extraordinary survival to the present day.
In the past, the scuole (confraternities) were a means of social cohesion and support for the Venetian state, and were run by the merchant and artisanal classes excluded from institutional political roles. The scuole were characterised by the munificence and decor of their offices, the exterior majesty of the liturgical practices and functions, and the unfailing collective commitment to mutual assistance. Above all, the confraternal associations were a channel for collecting financial resources with the aim of reassigning them, under the form of subsidies, structures and voluntary works, to the weaker members of the population belonging to less affluent social classes, and mitigating the conflicts of a situation constantly undermined by crises of sustenance. Citizens of modest means or impoverished conditions admitted to the brotherhoods of the scuole were assured of protection from an economic and social point of view. Furthermore, for components of lower classes admission to one of the scuole provided an opportunity to establish an identity, becoming part of a group which had all the characteristics of a large family. Today the scuole are active in the cultural and social life of the city, assuming the fundamentally voluntary and altruistic role of custodians and interpreters of an inestimable historic-artistic heritage. Highlighting this aspect of the history of Venice is an example of how the city can be visited and experienced in a more sustainable way.
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