Barozzi palace

Barozzi palace

Palazzo Contrari-Boncompagni is an elegant Renaissance palace which is almost entirely morphologically intact. It was built between the early 1560s and 1567, on order of Ercole (Hercules) Contrari the Elder (a feudatory of Vignola) by the "master mason" Bartolomeo Tristano of Ferrara, on the design of the great Vignolese architect Jacopo Barozzi, who is known as The Vignola; for this reason, the palace is also known as Palazzo Barozzi.

Successors to the Contrari family in the Vignolese Marquisate were the Boncompagnis, who remained owners of the palace until 1949, when it was purchased by the Parish of Vignola.

The body of the palace is slightly rectangular in shape, to which two side wings are attached; the one on the left contains the famous spiral staircase. It is spread over four floors: the basement and the raised ground floor were intended for kitchens, for stocking supplies and for the everyday business of housekeeping; the main floor was the part where the fiefdom lived and received their guests and subjects, while the attic was intended for the accommodation of the servants.

The spiral staircase, the only vertical section that connects the various floors of the building, is totally aerial and is supported by a single column—located in the beautiful basement—and by the perimeter wall of the staircase itself, wherein each self-supporting step is “embedded”. The steps number 106 and the total height of the staircase is 12.33 meters.

The semi-interred basement, which once housed the wine cellars, the kitchen, two wells, the oven and the first cycle of Barozzi's self-supporting, helical staircase, have all been recently restored and are now open for visitors. Among the different rooms which were recovered during restoration of the basement, a beautiful conference room has been built.

Opening hours

Barozzi Palace opens on Saturdays and public holidays, November through March: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm and 3.00 pm – 6:00 pm; April through October: 10:00 – 12:00 / 15:30 – 19:00.

Closed: January 1st, Easter, Christmas.

Tickets and admission

Regular: € 2,00