SIGHTSEEING & MUSEUMS
Iconic, beautiful and... imperfect. Without a doubt, this is the characteristic that makes Scala Contarini del Bovolo a rare gem of Venetian architecture.
Iconic, beautiful and… imperfect, Scala Contarini del Bovolo is a rare gem of Venetian architecture
Hidden in a maze of ‘calli' (squares) and canals, just steps from Campo Manin, along one of the main tourist routes in Venice (from the Santa Lucia railway to the Gallerie dell'Accademia), visitors will find an architectural gem featuring a combination of Renaissance, Gothic and Byzantine elements. The Scala Contarini del Bovolo is a historic building of unmatched beauty that also owes some of its charm to the intrigue surrounding its namesake staircase.
According to historic records, the Scala Contarini del Bovolo was commissioned by Pietro Contarini towards the end of 1400; however, there is still some uncertainty about the true identity of its creator. The most credible version attributes it to Giovanni Candi, referred to in historical records as a ‘marangon', meaning a carpenter and woodworker as opposed to an architect. This would explain the architectural inconsistencies of the building, which are quite noticeable when climbing the staircase. Mysteries aside, those who are not afraid of heights can climb to the top of this 26m 'bovolo' (snail-shell) stairwell, enclosed in a cylinder perforated like lace, to admire a rare view of the city. Amidst its rooftops you will notice one of Venice's trademark architectural features: the ‘altane'. An altana is a covered wooden roof terrace that Venetians use to take shelter from the sun.
The loggia on the second floor of the Scala del Bovolo leads to the Sala of Palazzo Contarini, which hosts a display of paintings, sculptures and applied objet d'art. The collection is modest but it offers the visitor a insightful glimpse into Venetian lifestyles from the 16th through 18th centuries.
Open daily (10am-1.30pm, 2pm-6pm).
Closed on: 15 August, 1 November, 25 and 26 December and 1 January. >> Scala Contarini del Bovolo
San Marco, 4299 (Corte Contarini del Bovolo) www.scalacontarinidelbovolo.com