Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, Venice

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Corte Contarini del Bovolo, San Marco

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  • Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
    Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
    by suvanki
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    Cat near Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
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  • Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo in Venice
    Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo in Venice
    by Jefie
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    A rather unique example of Venitian architecture

    by Jefie Written Sep 12, 2010

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    The Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo was built for the Contarini family during the 15th century, the same powerful family for whom Ca' d'Oro was built. Perhaps to make up for the fact that this palazzo stands at the end of a small alley instead of on a more prominent spot facing the Grand Canal, it was given a completely unique design. It's mostly famous for its multiple arches and spiral staircase - in fact, the word "Bovolo", like "colimaçon" in French, stands for both "snail" and "spiral". The staircase used to be open to visitors but the building is currently closed for renovation, with no opening date in sight. However, that didn't seem to stop people from braving the risk of getting lost in the area's little streets to catch a glimpse of this rather interesting-looking palace.

    Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo in Venice
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    Exquisite Architecture

    by TexasDave Updated Dec 5, 2009

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    Tucked away in a narrow passageway, a courtyard opens up to reveal this five story exterior spiral staircase from 1499. It's not too easy to find but once you're in Campo Manin, look for and follow the arrow along with the word "BOVOLO" and you'll find it.

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    Bovolo- A unique staircase

    by abi_maha Written Feb 2, 2009

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    This palace is famous for its spiral staircase that has many arches. We stayed in an apartment right next to the same and my dad was surprised to see the number of visitors who came up the staircase paying 3 euros to do the same!

    The spiral staircase View from our drawing room
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    Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo or Scala de Bovolo

    by suvanki Updated Jan 9, 2009

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    SAN MARCO

    I wasn't sure whether this should have gone in my off the beaten track tips, as it took me quite a while to find- and when I did, it was closed for restoration work. Not sure if this is completed yet.
    Well, the time trying to find it was worth it, as I came across plenty of campos and shops that I might have missed otherwise.

    Off Campo Manin, and following the yellow signs, I came into a small courtyard, and there was this elusive tower with its' external staircase. These were a feature of Venetian houses in the 16th century - designed to save space in the internal rooms.

    This tower is dated around 1499, and is quite a flamboyant example of arches and loggias, resembling an ornate 5 storey helter skelter. It was the work of Giovanni Candi.
    The owner Pietro Contarini, had enlarged his palace, with a loggia on leach floor. The staircase, made of red brick and Istrian stone, links these together, in an attractive and practical way. It is thought to resemble the tower of Pisa.
    These staircases are known as scale a chicciola (snail stairs)
    Bovolo means snail shell in the Venetian dialect.

    At the foot of the tower is a fenced off garden, containing well heads, dating back to medieval times. Apparently this is a popular place for the local moggies to congregate. I spotted the healthy well fed specimen (in my photo below), napping on a window sill.

    I'm not sure when the tower will be open again - according to my guide book, the view from the top isn't extensive- (for a better view of Venice and beyond, the Camponille is the place to head for - though you can't see any canals!) but gives an interesting local outlook.
    Even better than the campanile in P. San Marco, catch the vaporetto from San Marco to Isola St Giorgio Maggiore, and view from this churches tower-half the price, less crowded, and views for miles around.

    Normally open April - Oct daily 10.00 - 18.00 Nov - March Sat- Sun 10.00 - 16.00
    Admission 3 euros

    Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo Cat near Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
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    Scala Contarini....

    by lina112 Written Sep 6, 2008

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    A small palace dates from the 15th century and best known for the external spiral staircase with a plethora of arches, known as the Scala Contarini del Bovolo.

    Palacio que data del siglo XV y conocido por la escalera de caracol exterior con gran numero de arcos llamda Scala Contarini del Bovolo.

    jumping to the palace....
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    Scala del Bovolo

    by Kikitriky Updated Jul 14, 2006

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    Scala Contarini del Bovolo is a real treasure, hidden at the interior of a small courtyard, situaded in the heart of Venice. It is a splendid winding staircase, adorning the side of Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, a short walk from Campo Manin. Scala del Bovolo owes its name to the Italian word "bovolo", meaning "snail shell".It was built in 1499 and represents Early Renaissance with Gothic-Byzantine building techniques. The line of the staircase is followed by a parapet, fascinatingly mixing little columns and arcades and giving the tourist the satisfaction of seeing such a unique Venetian monument.

    Scala del Bovolo
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    Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo

    by Cristian_Uluru Updated May 19, 2006

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    The nice palace Contarini Minelli dal Bovolo is famous for its winding-stairs, the scala del bovolo. It was built in 1499 on by Giovanni Candi and Its name is derived from the venetian word for a snail-shell, bovolo. Even the branch of the Contarini that inhabited the palace was named after that singular architectural solution.
    In the main building you can see the half arches of fourth order, which are visible at the stairway corridors.
    The main facade with five-light loggias of fifth order on thin columns is towards the Rio di San Luca.
    Numerous "vere di pozzo" (well-heads) from the 13th to 15th century are collected at the stairway base and clearly show the development of this essential part of a venetian palace. At least one of them has the Contarini coat of arms.

    The famous stairway!! Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
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    Palazzo Contarini del Bevolo

    by MM212 Updated Apr 10, 2006

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    The most unique of Venice's palazzi, the 15th century Palazzo Contarini is tucked away in a little alley that is hard to find. You need an excellent map to be able to reach it. What makes this palazzo unique is its spiral arched staircase. I only saw the palazzo at night from the exterior, but visitors are permitted to climb up the staircase for scenic views of Venice's rooftops.

    Palazzo Continarini's Spiral
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  • Rachael71's Profile Photo

    A hidden Palazzo

    by Rachael71 Written Jul 23, 2005

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    Isn't this beautiful? The Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo was built in the 16th century by a wealthy man who wanted to make his Palazzo stand out from the rest. There was no room to build it by the Grand Canal, so it was a little out of the way. How could he make people notice it? By putting the staircase on the outside!

    It is open to the public for a couple of euros and probably gives great views across Venice, but unfortunately the ticket kiosk was closed when we visited so we couldn't go in. Another thing to do when we next visit!

    Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo

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    Scala Contarini del Bovolo

    by BarbaraForza Updated Sep 3, 2004

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    I should have put it on the Off the Path Tips, 'cause not many tourists know about it...you can also go inside and up the 121 stairs.
    I've been told that at the time it was built, it wasn't allowed to build towers, so it was presented as "stairs" only...on the top there is a great view over Venice roofs.

    Scala Contarini del Bovolo - Venice
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    Scala Contarini del Bovolo

    by Mahieu Written Aug 1, 2004

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    Beautifully decorated, winding staircase, hidden away in a backyard. Through the arcades and on top, you have a nice view over the Venetian roofs.( a bit expensive however, 3 euro) The building has Renaissance and Byzantine influences and was built in the 15th century.

    I don't know why, but the majority of tourists don't seem to come here, so the peace and calm add to the fact that you really can't miss this little jewel.

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  • ChrsStrl's Profile Photo

    Go and see the wonderful stairs - the Bovolo

    by ChrsStrl Written Jun 21, 2003

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    This graceful spiral staircase and loggia was built in 1499 seems to be all that re,ains of the Palazzo del Contarini del Bovolo.

    Climb it for the views.

    It is in an open courtyard with a variety of well heads and, on certain occasions one can now climb the five floors for a view over Venice.

    From below
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    Scala Contarini dal Bovolo

    by Imbi Written Dec 23, 2002

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    'Bovolo' in Venetian dialect means spiral staircase. The palace is actually a lot less interesting than its staircase, where the decor on the walls of the entrance will leave you feeling slightly claustrophobic.
    In order to get here, you must follow the yellow arrows from Manin square, down the Calle della Mandola. En route, you will be able to experience at first hand, the peculiarities of Venetian dimensions: the calles which lead you here are so narrow, two people cannot go down them side by side.

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    PALAZZO CONTARINI DEL BOVOLO

    by Helga67 Written Feb 25, 2003

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    'Bovolo' in Venetian dialect means spiral staircase. The palace is actually a lot less interesting than its staircase, where the decor on the walls of the entrance will leave you feeling slightly claustrophobic.
    In order to get here, you must follow the yellow arrows from Manin square, down the Calle della Mandola. En route, you will be able to experience at first hand, the peculiarities of Venetian dimensions: the calles which lead you here are so narrow, two people cannot go down them side by side.

    Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, Venice
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  • steventilly's Profile Photo

    Scala del Bovolo.

    by steventilly Updated Sep 30, 2002

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    An elaborate external staircase winds its way up the side of an old Palazza. Apparently the owner went on holiday and left instructions with a local builder to 'build me a staircase'. This is the result.

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