Located on one of the largest squares of Venice, the Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, is a stunning edifice: the Scuola Grande di San Marco.
Its facade, a masterwork at the intersection of classic renaissance and Byzantine styles, ornamented with arches, niches, statues and light marbles, is of breathtaking beauty but we, us Venetians, often omit to admire, for one simple reason: to us, it is a hospital.
Built for the first time in 1260 as the headquarter of the Confraternity of San Marco, one of the six Scuole Grandi of the city, the edifice was destroyed, like it was often the time in Venice, by a fire in 1485.
What we see now is the result of the work of Pietro Lombardo and Mauro Codussi, who were given the delicate task to rebuilt the edifice.
The Scuola counted famed members, such as Giosafat Barbaro, Ambrogio Contarini, and Alvise da Mosto, three of the greatest Italian explorers of the fifteenth century.
Nevertheless, since Napoleon in 1807, the Scuola Grande di San Marco was turned into a hospital and is still now the main public hospital of Venice.
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