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Scala Contarini del Bovolo

The outstanding spiral staircase made Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo ("bovolo" means "snail" in Venetian, representing the spiral shape of the stairs) one of the most famous buildings in Venice. At the top of the staircase is a panoramic viewpoint which offers a breath-taking view of the city -  some astronomic discoveries were even made here.

The Scala Contarini del Bovolo is one of the most exceptional examples of the Venetian transition from a Gothic style to a Renaissance style, born in Florence. At the end of the 15th century, Paolo Contarini added a new part to the building, probably a project by Giovanni Candi. It was aimed to improve the visual appearance of the facade of the palace, which overlooked a small courtyard once protected by walls. 

The palace has a cylindrical staircase with a plethora of arches, called "bovolo" in Venetian dialect. The structure takes inspiration from Renaissance architecture, but some parts are Gothic and Byzantine in style. The winding staircase takes you all the way up to the cupola where there is a charming panoramic view of Venetian roofs, bell towers and St. Mark’s Basilica.

Address: San Marco 4299 Corte dei Risi o del Bovolo
How to get there: take the ACTV water bus at San Marco or Rialto stops.


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Gondolas, canals, lights and colors ... this is Venice, the ancient city on the water, known worldwide for its architectural beauty and its mysterious and romantic atmosphere.

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