Photo of Scala Contarini del Bovolo, Venice

Visit Scala Contarini del Bovolo, Venice

The Scala Contarini del Bovolo is a historic monument in the San Marco district of Venice, rather hidden away close to Campo Manin. Note: the word Bovolo in the name refers to the cyclindrical shape of the staircase attached to the palace.

Discover the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo in Venice

Italy This Way review: the Palazzo and Scala Contarini del Bovolo is not the most interesting monument in Venice - there is a lot of competition - but if it is not your first visit to Venice and you have an hour to spare (half an hour to find the palace and half an hour to visit!) it is an interesting monument to visit for an alternative view across the city

view of square below the Scala Contarini del Bovolo

The palace was built in the 14th century, and the tower with staircase was added at the end of the 15th century, after the palace had been bought by the Contarini family.

The Scala Contarini is a tall palazzo with a row of three external arches in the renaissance style at each level, which is connected to a circular tower that also has arches. All of the arches are supported by round columns except those at the ground level which are supported by square columns.

The column is 26 metres high and built of Istrian stone, with the staircase built of red bricks and stone arches. At the top of the tower there is a belvedere, also built in Istrian stone, with views across Venice.

An interesting feature of the tower and palazzo is that the rows of arches become progressively less tall as you rise up the tower - this has the impact of making the tower seem taller than it really is, when seen from the square below.

 
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By the 19th century the tower was in a poor condition and extensive renovations were carried out, including iron supports for the stairs that had becoe weakened, and a brick surround to protect the central column.

Unfortunately the iron became rusty and the bricks also had problems so the efforts of this renovation were removed, and a more complete and accurate restoration was carried out towards the end of the 20th century. After being closed for many years, the tower is now again open to visitors.

From the belvedere at the top of the Scala Contorini you have a view across the rooftops of Venice, incuding the Campanile in Saint Marks Square (the tower with the best views of Venice), and the basilica of San Giovanni e Paolo. The dome of the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute and the tower of the church of Saint Stefano can also be seen.

A ticket to enter the staircase is seven euros, which I think is very expensive just to climb the tower and see the views. The rooms of the adjacent palace are not open to the public (apart from occasional exhibitions in one or two of the rooms) so your ticket is simply to climb the staircase and enjoy the views from the belvedere.

view of rooftops from the Scala Contarini del Bovolo

Attractions nearby

There are innumerable attractions to visit and see in this beautiful city - see the Venice guide.

In particular be sure to visit Saint Mark's Square and Saint Mark's Basilica, the campanile, the Doge's Palace, the Rialto bridge and the Grand Canal.

You can find more local travel ideas in and the Venice-Veneto guide.

See also: 

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Map of Scala Contarini del Bovolo, Venice and places to visit

 
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Scala Contarini del Bovolo, Venice places to visit

Museo Correr, Venice

Museo Correr, Venice

The Museo Correr has a collection of sculptures and items related to Venice housed in the sumptuous rooms of the Napoleonic wing on Saint Mark's Square.

Museo Correr, Venice guide
Saint Mark's Campanile, Venice

Saint Mark's Campanile, Venice

Saint Mark's Campanile is one of the iconic buildings of Saint Mark's Square and a visit to the top offers great views over Venice.

Saint Mark's Campanile, Venice guide
The Rialto Bridge, Venice

The Rialto Bridge, Venice

The Rialto bridge is one of the iconic sights of Venice

The Rialto Bridge, Venice guide
The National Archaeological Museum, Venice

The National Archaeological Museum, Venice

The Venice National Archaeological Museum has an interesting collection of Roman and Greek statues and many items donated by rich Venetian families.

The National Archaeological Museum, Venice guide
Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice

Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice

Saint Mark's Basilica is the stunning cathedral church of Venice which sits on Saint Mark's Square and inside houses magnificent Byzantine mosaics.

Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice guide
Fondaco-dei-Tedeschi, Venice

Fondaco-dei-Tedeschi, Venice

The Fondaco-dei-Tadeschi is a historic building in Venice with a roof terrace with views over the Grand Canal.

Fondaco-dei-Tedeschi, Venice guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Venice-Veneto

 
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