Palazzo Barozzi

Palazzo Contrari-Boncompagni stands in the square in front of the Rocca di Vignola. It was built at the behest of Count Ercole the Elder Contrari as a new noble residence for the family, entrusted its construction to the “magister / mason” Bartolomeo Tristano of Ferrara on a project by the great Vignola architect Jacopo Barozzi known as Vignola; for this reason the palace is also known as Palazzo Barozzi. With the exhaustion of the Contrari family, on the death of Ercole in 1575 the young Contrari, the Palazzo together with the rest of the fiefdom, was purchased in 1577 by Giacomo Boncompagni who will take care of its completion, the Boncompagni family remained the owner of the Palazzo until 1949. when he decides to sell it to the Parish of Vignola. The palace has a rectangular shape to which two lateral wings protruding on the western side are attached, within which the garden develops. Of the four floors that make it up, the basement and the raised ground floor were intended for the kitchens, supplies and the running of the house; the noble floor was the part where the feudal lord lived and received, while the attic was intended for servants. The only vertical connection of the Palace is also one of its flagships, the famous “spiral” staircase located in the projecting wing to the south. Designed like the rest of the building by Jacopo Barozzi, it has an extraordinary helical shape and is an architectural masterpiece of the highest level. In fact, it is aerial with a single support pillar placed in the basement and each of the 106 steps is self-supporting, inserting itself into the perimeter wall with an increasingly accentuated inclination as it reaches its apex, located at 12.33 meters in height. This creates a whirling climb effect, however made pleasant by the harmonious spiral, by the three openings that offer a splendid view of the Vignola area and by the frescoes that decorate the walls of the staircase. The latter date back to 1880, originally the compartment was simply i

painted in white and the decorations were made at the behest of Prince Antonio Boncompagni by the artists Fermo Forti and Angelo Forghieri. A restoration has recently been carried out on the basement (currently open to visitors), which housed the cellars, the kitchen, two wells, the oven and the first cycle of Barozzi’s self-supporting helical staircase. Among the different rooms recovered in the basement, a suggestive conference room has been created.

For information and visits:

Parish of Vignola

Tel. 059-771062 e-mail.

Tourist information point – Tra le Mura

Tel. 3204322318 e-mail.

Sport and Tourism Office of the Municipality of Vignola

Tel. 059-777606 Fax 059-764129

Guided tours by the volunteers of the Parish of Vignola

Visits of organized groups or school groups are also possible on weekdays, subject to prior agreement (contact the telephone numbers above) Cost of the visit € 2

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