Venetian Arsenal

Venice, Italy

The Venetian Arsenal is a complex of former shipyards and armories clustered together in the city of Venice. Owned by the state, the Arsenal was responsible for the bulk of the Venetian republic's naval power during the centuries. It was one of the earliest large-scale industrial enterprises in history.

Construction of the Arsenal began around 1104, during Venice's republican era. It became the largest industrial complex in Europe before the Industrial Revolution, spanning an area of about 45 hectares, or about fifteen percent of Venice. Surrounded by a 3.2 km rampart, laborers and shipbuilders regularly worked within the Arsenal, building ships that sailed from the city's port. With high walls shielding the Arsenal from public view and guards protecting its perimeter, different areas of the Arsenal each produced a particular prefabricated ship part or other maritime implement, such as munitions, rope, and rigging. These parts could then be assembled into a ship in as little as one day. An exclusive forest owned by the Arsenal navy, in the Montello hills area of Veneto, provided the Arsenal's wood supply.

The Arsenal produced the majority of Venice's maritime trading vessels, which generated much of the city's economic wealth and power, lasting until the fall of the republic to Napoleon's conquest of the area in 1797.

Significant parts of the Arsenal were destroyed under Napoleonic rule, and later rebuilt to enable the Arsenal's present use as a naval base. It is also used as a research center and an exhibition venue during the Venice Biennale, and is home to a historic boat preservation center.



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Castello 2389, Venice, Italy
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Founded: 1104
Category: Industrial sites in Italy


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Lizzie Smith (11 months ago)
Let your feet guide you. Amazing place to gather your thoughts and take in the history, Some interesting side streets and art. Loved it.
Maria Ligia B (13 months ago)
A espetacular place, very quiet as not so many people were around. Great to seat and contemplate the birds and the view
Benn Murry (16 months ago)
Beautiful place outside the business of main tourist tracks. Give you a nice break in the shade and some of the most beautiful venetian architecture. Fully recomend.
Dino Numić (17 months ago)
A place of power in the old Venetian republic. A shipyard where army and merchant ships were constructed. I wouldn’t trade a visit to this place over some other national museum or historical building. It is in good shape and well preserved but not really much to do or see. You might remember this place if you played assassins creed game. And most of the other locations in Venice for that matter.
Alex Brown (18 months ago)
Impressive historic naval yard. Usually you get access to the museum that showcases historic Venetian ships, but while we were there the arsenal was hosting a boat show, so we didn’t get to see most of the historic ships. You can’t buy tickets in person and the site to buy is difficult to navigate. Then after we bought our tickets online we had to go to the info desk to get a ticket for our toddler. It would be pretty cool if we could have entered the usual museum.
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