The Venetian Arsenal is a spectacular attraction in Venice, which is one of the greatest monuments of the Medieval epoch and the biggest manufacturing complex of that time. Charles Dickens once called it “a real ship wreckage drifting in the sea”.
The Arsenal is located on Castello Island. It’s a former shipyard which had a huge influence on the shipbuilding all over the world. Nowadays, it’s an abandoned and non-functioning naval dock.
The History of the Arsenal - Shipyards of Venice
The first building of the Arsenal was built in 1104 to the order of the Doge of Venice, Ordelafo Faliero. In the XIV century the construction was completed and expanded, and in the XV and XVI centuries, it was rebuilt again. It happened due to the greatly increased demand in Venice which had already gained a status of one of the most influential and important port-city.
The main gate of the Arsenal - Porta Magna, was created by the famous architect of that time - Bellini in 1460. The entry, located at the mainland, are implemented as a triumphal arch in the Renaissance style, decorated with statues and lions’ figures.
In 1579 Tana or the manufacturing building was erected. It was used for producing heterogeneous tackles for the ships.
The title “Arsenal” origins from the Arabic word “darsina'a” and translates as “workshop”. The Venetian Arsenal was the first of its kind and, as a result, gave a name to other shipyards all over the world. It was an entire city devoted to shipbuilding and their details production. This huge manufacturer had over 16 thousand workers. Annually, a new ship was launched.
Museum of the History of the Navy of Venice
Nowadays the museum is located in the building of the former granary and has one of the biggest naval and maritime collections. This stunning Italian attraction will be interesting not only for all the maritime history fans. To make it more convenient for the tourists, all the Italian titles are duplicated in English. The whole exposition is divided and includes military trophies, and also models of both small and big ships of the Venetian fleet of different periods.
The collection consists of 25 thousand objects which describe the types of ships, anchors, weapon and other naval equipment. Special attention attracts the ancient gondola with a separate cabin and a famous renovated bucintoro - a gilded barge decorated with carvings. It was used for the ceremonial trip of Doges.
All the jewelry was taken off the real barge due to the order of Napoleon. He also instructed to remelt all the cannons and the bronze parts of the ship in order to erect the column on the Place Vendôme in Paris. After Napoleon’s military actions, the biggest part of Arsenal’s territory still remains abandoned and ruined.
The last exponents became the “human torpedoes” (torpedoes driven by people). They were used during World War II, and you can check them out on the first floor.
Important Information for Tourists
Location: Castello, 30122.
Address: Riva S. Biasio, 2148, 30122 Venice.
Open Hours of the Venetian Arsenal: Monday - Saturday - 9:00 - 13:00 (Sunday is a day off).
- foreign tourists - 5 €;
- local citizens - 1.55 €;
- schoolchildren - free.
Another interesting tourist destination is the Doge’s Palace, an administrative building of the city. It’s a former residence of all the rulers of the Venetian Republic
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