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Contarini del Bovolo Stairs


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Among the hidden treasures of Venice, the so-called Contarini del Bovolo Stairs deserves a special mention: it is a spiral staircase, adorned by open arches, leaning on the façade of the Contarini Palace, in St. Mark's district.
The building, splendid example of Gothic style, seen from outside looks like a cylindrical tower with a portico and various loggias; but above all, the most impressive part of this monument is the unique spiral staircase ("bovolo" in Venetian dialect, which means "snail's shell"). Not surprisingly, the Contarini family, which owned the building, was nicknamed "Bovolo" right after the construction of the staircase.
The Contarini del Bovolo Palace and its Stairs, today owned by a local corporation that deals with charity, are open to visitors except during periods of restoration.