Scala Contarini del Bovolo, the most famous spiral staircase in Venice, is located near Campo Manin, in the San Marco district. At 28 meters high, from the top you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.
Its construction is attributed to Giovanni Candi, a Venetian architect and carpenter, who built the spiral of the staircase, which is formed by 80 monolithic steps that twist counterclockwise. Extended over four floors, the staircase is light and airy thanks to its arches.
The loggia on the second floor of the Scala del Bovolo leads to the Sala del Tintoretto, where the collection of Venetian art from the 1500s to the 1700s belonging to the historical and artistic heritage of IRE, the organization that currently owns the palace, is exhibited.
The Scala Contarini del Bovolo is part of the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, a late-Gothic palace built between 1300 and 1400 as the home of the Contarini family of the San Paternian branch. From the late fifteenth century, with the addition of the spiral staircase (known as a bovolo in Venetian) the family were given the nickname “Contarini Del Bovolo”.
What is interesting is the fact that, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the building was rented by Arnoldo Marseille, known as the Maltese, who opened an inn here and is said to be the inspiration for Corto Maltese, the protagonist of Hugo Pratt's comics.
Another curious event related to the Scala Contarini del Bovolo is the fact that, in 1859, the astronomer Tempel carried out his first astronomical observations from the terrace of the tower and discovered the comet C/1859 and the Merope Nebula of the Pleiades.