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
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Details

Founded: 1104
Category: Industrial sites in Italy

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dino Numić (7 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 (8 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.
Gaga Girl (10 months ago)
Lovely neighborhood, a bit away from crowded San Marco. The Naval Museum is really interesting. We sat on a bench to take some sun while listening to the Venetian lagoon - without the noise of the touristy and chaotic San Marco ? Go and say hi to the amazing Lions of Piraeus.
Aaron Ochse (2 years ago)
Great example of Venetian might. A quiet corner now that is perfect for a peaceful stroll at night. The lion statues are from many eras and really interesting to examine.
Henrik Bjergegaard (2 years ago)
You are not able to enter but still worth visiting and watch from the outside. Very impressive when you read up on what they were capable of here
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