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

Venice: Acqua Alta: when a normal phenomenon becomes tragic

Acqua-alta-a-Venezia
Did you know that...

Did you know that ‘Acqua Alta’ is an expression of Venetian dialect used by its inhabitants to describe the high tides that occur p...

View

Venice: Mars, Adam and Eve: the Doge's Palace celebrates their return

restauro-adamo-eva-ducale
Unknown places & works

After four years of delicate restoration work, the three fifteenth-century statues by the great artist Antonio Rizzo will be exceptiona...

View

Romano D' Ezzellino: Why do they say ‘If you can't sleep, count sheep’?

contare-le-pecore
Figures of speech

It all started in Romano d’Ezzelino in the province of Vicenza when Ezzelino da Romano, who suffered from insomnia, hired a storytell...

View

Chioggia: The Valley of the Seven Dead Men

casone-millecampi-detto-casone-dei-sette-morti
Mysteries & Legends

Halloween is just around the corner: have you already got into the fascinating terrifying aura of the scariest party of the year? No ye...

View

Top posts

Venice: The red lights of St Mark’s Basilica in memory of the poor ‘fornareto’

il_fornareto
Mysteries & Legends

If you find yourself wandering around St Mark’s Basilica in the evening, take a look at its southern façade ... you will notice two ...

View

Treviso: Why is Prosecco wine called precisely Prosecco?

colline-del-prosecco
Did you know that...

On 7 July 2019, Veneto and the whole of Italy toasted to the Prosecco Hills, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site! The World Heritage Commi...

View

Venice: The origins of the Spritz cocktail

spritz-veneziano
Local Traditions

Spritz, the typical Venetian aperitif, has nowadays become the iconic cocktail of Happy hour not only in Italy, but all over the world....

View

Belluno: The mystery of the Pietrificatore from Sospirolo

pietrificatore
Mysteries & Legends

Nestled inside the Dolomiti National Park, in the province of Belluno lies the small village of Sospirolo. A peculiar man was born here...

View