Scala Contarini del Bovolo : the spiral staircase most impressive and valuable in Venice
During the late fifteenth century, important overall renovation works updated the complex architectures to meet the modern Renaissance taste with the construction of the loggia and of the graceful spiral staircase known as “bovolo” (venetian word that means “snail”).
These major structural modifications were commissioned by Pietro Contarini who became the owner of the palazzo in 1489 and apparently entrusted the works to a local artisan named Giovanni Candi.
The alterations to the inner courtyard with the introduction of loggias also date to that same period.
This sequence of layered loggias is the element creating a connection between the tower and the adjacent building – a four-floor plus ground floor palazzo resulting from the union of two originally separate edifices: a trapezoidal building set around a central courtyard (the oldest part of the complex), and the rectangular-plan building that was added to it later.
Traces of the older Gothic architecture are still visible both on the outside and the inside of the edifice: on the side facing Saint Mark there are visible portions of a lavish floral decoration, while the main façade overlooking Rio di San Luca still preserves the pristine late-Gothic appearance.