1111Scala Contarini del Bovolo, the Hidden Treasure of Venice
Recently opened for the public, hidden in a maze of streets and canals, very close to Campo Manin, along one of the main tourist routes in Venice (railway – Academy), appears an architectural gem characterized by a style that is among Renaissance, Gothic and Byzantine: the Scala Contarini del Bovolo. The spiral staircase most impressive and valuable in Venice is a perfect synthesis of different styles: Renaissance (for the use of some elements such as the capitals), Gothic (for the construction technique) and Venetian-Byzantine (for the form). It was commissioned by Pietro Contarini probably around the end of 1400 in order to decorate the facade of the adjacent Palace of San Paternian owned by an illustrious Venetian family. The realization of this work, in fact, did not have at first a functional purpose, but consisted mainly of an act of prestige and aimed mainly to a further growth in the popularity of the family. The creation of the scale had such a wide appeal that have led citizens to choose a nickname for that branch of the family for which, since that time has been used the nickname Contarini del Bovolo (referring to the particular shape of the staircase “to snail shell” which in Venetian is said precisely “bovolo”).