Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo

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View of the famous staircase.

The Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo (also called Palazzo Contarini Minelli dal Bovolo) is a small palace in Venice, Italy, best known for the external spiral staircase, with a plethora of arches, known as the Scala Contarini del Bovolo (of the snail).[1]

The palace is located in a less-traveled side-street near the Campo Manin, near the Rialto.

The staircase leads to an arcade, providing a charming panoramic view over some of the roof-tops of the city.


The palace was designed and built in its current form in the 15th century by architect Giovanni Candi as one of the Venice homes of the Contarini family. Giorgio Spavento is believed to be responsible for the addition of the grand spiral staircase on the exterior, in 1499.[2]

Palazzo del Bovolo was chosen by Orson Welles as one of the main filming locations (Brabantio's house) for his 1952 screen adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello and the staircase is prominently featured in the film.[3]

Currently,[when?] the stair is being restored and it is closed to the public.[citation needed]. In December 2014, the stairs can by viewed by the public, but fences will keep you some meters away from them.[4]


  1. ^ "Contarini del Bovolo: The Snail House of Venice". Venice Sights, UK. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Venice - Bovolo House". European POI. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ Garis, Robert (2004). The Films of Orson Welles. Cambridge University Press. p. 152. ISBN 9780521649728. 
  4. ^ Gompel, M.E. van & Mathu, VTJ: Visit on 13-12-2014

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°26′05″N 12°20′04″E / 45.4347°N 12.3344°E / 45.4347; 12.3344