The commanding spiral staircase of the Scala Contarini del Bovolo is the stuff of story books (and mathematical theories, no doubt!). It's a real Venetian gem and a classic combination of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, known for being used prominently by Orson Welles in his version of Othello.
The Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo is a tiny, pretty palazzo that's often blessed with hot Venetian sunbeams. Despite its small size, it's famed all over Italy for its external, multi-arch spiral staircase: the Scala Contarini del Bovolo, which is Venetian for the shell of the snail.
You'll soon see why. Standing at the top, looking down, the intricate design of spiralling stairs looks just like a snail's shell - a very posh snail's shell. Each step is broad and expansive, and the overall effect is definitely majestic.
The palazzo was built in the 15th century by the architect Giovanni Candi, but the spiral staircase was added later in 1499. This gastropod-like beauty is an elegant testament to Venice's unique history and architecture. It's also the tallest spiral staircase in Venice!
Opt for the combo ticket and pay a visit to Oratorio dei Crociferi, just a short walk away. This small Roman Catholic prayer hall is filled with a stunning cycle of paintings by Palma il Giovane. Witnessing the glowing red and gold robes worn by the dignitaries and notables in these paintings is a must for art lovers.