The Contarini del Bovolo palace is a small, late-Gothic palace of Venice, located in san Marco district and best known for its external multi-arch spiral staircase known as the Scala Contarini del Bovolo (literally, "of the snail").
The palazzo was designed in its current form in the 15th century by the architect Giovanni Candi on behalf of Contarini family; in fact it was supposed to be one of the residences of this family. Giorgio Spavento is believed to have been responsible for the addition of the grand spiral staircase on the exterior in 1499. This staircase leads to an arcade which provides an astonishing view of the city.
After several changes of ownership, today the building belongs to the IRE of Venice, an educational institution.
In 1859, Wilhelm Tempel conducted his first astronomical observations from the belvedere of the tower; here he discovered, in 1859, a new comet and the Merope nebula.
The Palazzo del Bovolo was chosen by Orson Welles as one of the main locations (Brabantio's house) for his 1952 adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello, and the staircase is prominently featured in the film.
The staircase was closed to the public for restoration work which began in August 2015 but is now open and the palace has been visitable since February 2016.