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: Bussolà, typical Easter biscuit of Burano Island

bussola
Local Traditions

‘Bussolà’ (plural bussolai) is a traditional Venetian biscuit which derives its name from the word ‘busa’ which means ‘hole...

View

Venice: Easter in the Serenissima Republic of Venice

pasqua-serenissima
Local Traditions

Easter is one of the most important celebrations for Christianity as it commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus but over the centuries, ...

View

Padua: Giotto’s Vices and Virtues in the Scrovegni Chapel

Carità-e-Invidia
Historical Curiosities

The Scrovegni Chapel in Padua contains one of the most significant masterpieces of all time: the great fresco cycle by Giotto. Among th...

View

Venice: Stalin, the bell-ringer of San Lazzaro degli Armeni

armeni
Big Names

There are many great artistic, literary and political figures who have walked the streets of Venice over the centuries ... Among these,...

View

Top posts

Venice: Titian's paintings in the Sacristy of the Basilica della Salute

tiziano-salute-venezia
Big Names

The Basilica della Salute is one of the most important religious places in Venice ... it was constructed to commemorate the end of the ...

View

Padua: The ancient Jewish cemetery of Padua in Via Weil

cimitero-ebraico-padova
Historical Curiosities

Padua boasts one of the oldest universities in the world, founded in 1222 and open to everyone. Between the 13th and the 14th century, ...

View

Vicenza: The legend of the Dwarves of Villa Valmarana ai Nani

Villa_Valmarana_ai_Nani
Mysteries & Legends

Villa Valmarana ai Nani in Vicenza, Italy, is one of the best known and most visited villas in the Veneto region thanks to the frescoes...

View

Vicenza: The Cryptoporticus of Piazza Duomo in Vicenza

criptoportico_vicenza
Unknown places & works

Vicenza is famous all over the world for its sixteenth-century monuments by the great architect Andrea Palladio and is a UNESCO heritag...

View