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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Address

Castello 2389, Venice, Italy
See all sites in Venice

Details

Founded: 1104
Category: Industrial sites in Italy

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

debbie Curtis (8 months ago)
The real Venice it was fantastic . Well off the tourist trap.
debbie Curtis (8 months ago)
The real Venice it was fantastic . Well off the tourist trap.
Michael Bailey (9 months ago)
Arms are gone. Still a nice building with beautiful sculptures.
Michael Bailey (9 months ago)
Arms are gone. Still a nice building with beautiful sculptures.
George (9 months ago)
We only walked past but it was beautiful and quite quiet. We just walked through a bunch of canals around there.
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