Welcome to the beautiful city of Venice, home to one of the most impressive and historic arsenals in the world!
The Arsenal of Venice, in fact, has once been a major shipyard and naval base for the Republic of Venice, and played a crucial role in the city's naval power and prosperity for centuries.
Today, it stands as a testament to Venice's rich history and cultural heritage, offering visitors a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Whether you're a history buff or just looking for a unique and interesting place to visit during your trip to Venice, the Arsenal is truly a must-see destination that you won't want to miss.
So, come and explore the incredible history of the Arsenal of Venice! We'll also give you some info on how to visit the Venetian arsenal through the article.
The Arsenal of Venice: one of the first maritime arsenals ever built in Italy
The Arsenal of Venice (Arsenale di Venezia, in Italian) has a long and storied history that dates back to the early 12th century.
At that time, in fact, the Venetian republic, the so called Serenissima, was a major maritime power. The Venetian fleet was used to trade with other countries and defend the city against potential invaders.
The Arsenal was built to house and maintain these ships, as well as to build new ones as needed. Over the centuries, the Arsenal played a vital role in the growth and prosperity of the Republic of Venice.
It became one of the largest and most advanced shipyards in the world, with a workforce of thousands of skilled workers and craftsmen. The Arsenal was responsible for building and repairing ships for the Venetian navy, as well as constructing buildings and other structures throughout the city.
The Arsenal reached the height of its power and influence in the 16th and 17th centuries when it produced some of the most impressive and technologically advanced ships of the time.
Today, the Arsenal is no longer used as a shipyard, but it remains an important part of Venice's history and cultural heritage.
Visitors can now see the impressive architecture and engineering that went into its construction, as well as learn about the role it played in the city's past.
Where is the Arsenal of Venice located
The Arsenal of Venice is located in the Castello district, on the eastern shore of the island of Venice.
It is a large complex made up of a series of buildings, shipyards, and workshops.
Today you can still see the massive facility, with a series of interconnected buildings and courtyards that cover an area of over 50 acres. It is made up of a series of shipyards, where ships were built and repaired, as well as a series of workshops where craftsmen worked on a variety of tasks, including the construction of weapons, armor, and other equipment needed for the Venetian navy.
How the Venice Arsenal is composed: the main parts
The area of the Arsenal covers approximately 15% of the area of Venice.
A guild of worker-military workers deputed for the purpose operated there, the "arsenalotti", whose numbers reached, during periods of full production activity, the average daily quota of 1500-2000 units (it went up to 4500-5000 workers), that is, from 2% to 5% of the entire city population of the time.
The old arsenal
The "Arsenale Vecio" (Old arsenal) was probably open around the XIII century.
The first Squeri, Venetian shipyards for shipbuilding, were born, placed in a row in front of the sea, consisting of an inclined plane for launching and hauling boats.
Rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries, they took on their present appearance. Now connected by a long ogival-arched promenade, partially sheltered, with canopies made of massive wooden beams, expertly restored.
The New Arsenal
Around Lago San Daniele, you'll find new foundries, the armament factory, new squeri, several aquatic canopies called "tese," and the General Warehouse buildings with the workshop of the "velere," young women who made sails, on the second floor.
The submarine Dandolo is also located in the "Arsenal Novo". The Dandolo is the first submarine to be put inside a museum in the Mediterranean basin. It was completed in 1967 and was equipped with 4 torpedo launchers, and operated up to 300 meters deep in absolute silence. You can visit the submarine only at certain times of the year.
The Newer Arsenal
It is called the "Arsenale Novissimo".
Here you will find many areas that are dedicated to the Biennale di Venezia.
How is it possible to visit the Venice Arsenal
Some areas of the Arsenal of Venice are open to the public and can be visited as part of a guided tour (actually the northern part).
The North Arsenal is normally open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 3 PM (just check the opening hours in advance).
The public opening covers the public spaces and the ground floor of Tesa 105. Other areas are open to the public only during specific events.
During the opening months of the Biennale of Art and/or Architecture, the North Arsenal is open every day and a boat connection to the South Arsenal (Giardino delle Vergini) is available.
The areas of the South Arsenal used by the Fondazione la Biennale di Venezia are accessible during the months when the exhibitions are open (May-November) with payment of the entrance fee and at other times according to the tours organized by the Fondazione itself.
Also during the period when the exhibitions are open, the Giardino delle Vergini is open during daytime hours.
How to get to the Venetian Arsenal
The north Arsenal can be reached by lines 4.1, 4.2, 5.1 and 5.2 (stop "Bacini - Arsenale nord") or on foot from Campo de La Celestia, via the footbridge along the north boundary wall of the Arsenal.
The South Arsenal can be reached by lines 1, 4.1 and 4.2 (stop "Arsenale") or on foot from Riva degli schiavoni.
Do not forget that there is also an incredible Museum!
The Naval Historical Museum of the Italian Navy is housed in a 15th-century building, the "Granary" of the Serenissima, in Campo San Biagio close to the Venice Arsenal.
Visiting the museum you will explore a total of 42 exhibition rooms where you can also have the chance to see a reconstruction of the mythical ship of the Doges: the splendid Bucintoro.
Will you come and visit the Venetian Arsenal?