Hidden treasures

The Othello by Orson Welles and the Bovolo stairs in Venice

Film Locations
Otello

The Othello by Orson Welles and the Bovolo stairs in Venice

Since the beginning of the seventh art, Venice has been chosen by many directors as a backdrop for movies, some have even made the history of cinema.

In 1949 the great English director Orson Welles began filming a famous literary classic: Othello by William Shakespeare, whose first act was set in Venice.

The film had many production problems: a chronic lack of funds and, above all, the bad character of the director who even went as far as forcing five lead actresses in the role of Desdemona (the unhappy wife killed by Otello's, who was mad with jealousy) to abandon the set.

Because of the continuing delays, many scenes, which were supposed to be shot in Morocco, had to be shot in Venice and therefore only saw the light in 1952.

Shakespeare set the final act of the tragedy in Cyprus (a Venetian colony at the time) and yet in the film we can see the Doge's Palace Gate, but especially the famous Contarini spiral staircase of the Palazzo in San Luca, called Contarini del Bovolo ( Venetian 'spiral').

This incredible structure, dated 1499, was recently reopened to the public and you can go up and climb the stairs; the view is absolutely worth the cost of the ticket, maybe if you close your eyes, you can imagine the smell of Cyprus cedars while the tragedy of Othello's jealousy unfolds, which Shakespeare rightly called in the drama the 'green eyed monster'.

Venice is a real film location in the open air. In addition to Orson Wells'  Othello many films or scenes that remain immortal in the history of cinema were shot. Thanks to our Cinetour in Venice you can learn about and admire some of these famous locations during a fascinating walk with our local expert guide.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Treviso: Villa Condulmer in Mogliano Veneto and Giuseppe Verdi

villa-condulmer
Big Names

Giuseppe Verdi is one of the most famous musicians of the 19th century... Even those who are not Opera experts recognise the arias of h...

View

Padua: The Anatomical Theatre at the University of Padua

teatro-anatomico-padova
Unknown places & works

The University of Padua, founded in 1222, is one of the most important symbols of culture in Italy... There are lots of places to disco...

View

Venice: The underwater Nativity set in the Venice lagoon

presepe-sommerso
Unknown places & works

On 26 January 1961 the Croatian Wrmac merchant ship sank off the island of Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, about 3 miles outside the harbo...

View

Venice: The chapel of Saint Lucia in the Church of St. Jeremiah in Venice

s-geremia-venezia
Historical Curiosities

In many parts of the world, December 13th, the shortest day of the year, is dedicated to the celebration of the feast of Saint Lucia. H...

View

Top posts

Vicenza: The scenography of the Teatro Olimpico (‘Olympic theatre’)

olimpico-scenografia
Historical Curiosities

Vicenza is the city of Andrea Palladio (1508- 1580), one of the greatest architects of all time, especially as his classicism influence...

View

Padua: The ghosts in the Castle of Monselice

castello-monselice
Mysteries & Legends

Monselice is a splendid medieval town located on the hills south of Padova, offering stunning views on the surrounding landscape. The m...

View

Venice: The Othello by Orson Welles and the Bovolo stairs in Venice

Otello
Film Locations

Since the beginning of the seventh art, Venice has been chosen by many directors as a backdrop for movies, some have even made the hist...

View

Venice: The Garden of Eden on the Giudecca Island in Venice

giardino-eden-venezia
Unknown places & works

Behind the male prison on the Giudecca Island, there is a secret hidden garden, concealed from sight and with an intriguing name: the G...

View