The Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia is an Italian state museum of great international relevance, as it hosts the most important collection of Venetian painting in the world. No longer a part of Veneto’s regional museum system, in 2015 the Gallerie became a state museum enjoying special autonomy (that is, organisational, technical-scientific, financial, and economic autonomy). Functionally, the museum reports to the Directorate-General of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBAC).
Today, the collection of the Gallerie dell’Accademia is hosted in the historic complex of the Santa Maria della Carità, which is comprised of the church, its monastery, and the Scuola Grande.
The first buildings on this site date back to the early twelfth century. This was the place where, until the beginning of the nineteenth century, religious orders (first the canons of Santa Maria in Porto fuori Ravenna, and then the Santa Maria di Frigionaia canons under the Rule of Saint Augustine) shared space with the oldest confraternity of lay people in Venice, the Battuti, or flagellants.
The church and the monastery underwent several waves of renovation after the Augustinians arrived in the course of the fifteenth century. The eastern wing of the monastery was then modified once again by Andrea Palladio in the 1560s.
The buildings hosting the Scuola Grande were renovated in the second half of the eighteenth century, on the basis of designs by Giorgio Massari and his student Bernardino Macaruzzi.
After the fall of the Republic, the Santa Maria della Carità complex became the property of the state and then, in 1807, was designated as the site of the Accademia di belle arti (Academy of fine arts) and its gallery following an edict by Napoleon.