The place, located in the sestiere of San Polo, is named after the huge church of the Franciscan friars (
frati minori, venetian: Frari). Four portals of the gothic (and today unplastered) brick walls of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, begun in 1340, are on the place that borders to the church and its southern lateral chapels in the south. Compared to the Dominican church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo and its somptuous main façade and small transept portal, the Frari's approach is totally different. A baroque edifice on the north of the main façade formerly belonged to the convent and now serves as the State Archive and its administration. The Rio Terà San Tomà adjacent to the complex on the north (highlighted in the map), dried up in the 19th century, today leads to a unsatisfying situation.
The façade of the Scuola della Passione (San Polo 2998), a manieristic former confraternity building from 1593, is also remarkable, but Campo dei Frari lacks important palaces.