Scuola Grande di Santa Maria della Misericordia

SCUOLA GRANDE DI SANTA MARIA DELLA MISERICORDIA

The Confraternity of Santa Maria della Misericordia or Valverde, a Scuola Grande, was founded on the 8th of September 1261. In 1310 it obtained by the friars of the Abbazia della Misericordia the permission to build its headquarters next to the church. The works continued uninterruptedly until the beginning of the 16th century.

In 1451 a bas-relief of the Madonna by Bartolomeo Bon was placed over the portal of the façade (which was rebuilt at the beginning of 1441). Today it is in a London museum. Much attention was paid to the decoration of the interior and the ceiling of the Sala Superiore was enriched with 80 golden frames. The need for more space (at the beginning of the 16th century the members amounted to 612) lead to the creation of a new, larger and richer headquarter: in 1505 the old Scuola (Scuola Vecchia) was modified. Because of the poor economic situation, the building was rented to a merchant of fodder. In 1507 Alessandro Leopardi’s project was chosen for the new Scuola (Scuola Nuova della Misericordia) but 25 years later the building was no more than a foot high so in 1532 another project was commissioned to Sansovino, who raised the building till the first floor and in 1538 terminated the interior of the magnificent ground-floor hall. In 1624 they decided to sell the building. This happened only ten years later. The Guild of silk weavers maintained their headquarters in a very dignified way and in 1730 carried out a first important renovation, testified by a plaque in the Sala Superiore.