Something to know before visiting Venice Arsenale

The crown jewel of Serenissima Republic: Venice Arsenale

Venice Arsenale is a big area of Castello’s Sestiere where, super skilled workers produced the ships that made Venice navy and trade power that great.

Within the year 1100, marine craft were produced by small shipyards scattered between the islands of Venice lagoon and called “Squero”. They could produce those boats needed to cross the lagoon and no more.

Venice vocation toward sea-trade to satisfy Its population needs, and Its foreign policy ambition to rule the eastern routes, pushed the Dodge Feliero to incentivate the development of a real ship production industry.

After collocating a first small area in Castello’s Sestiere, Venice Arsenale became during Its history a fortified suburb of the city where the workers castes handed down their secrets generation by generation only by voice.

Arsenale’s position allowed the wood coming from the mountains by river to reach it easily sailing across the lagoon. Once arrived, larches and oaks were worked in an efficient production chain which in the best conditions could produce up to 3 ships per day.

The most common trade vessel in Venice was the Galea, which with more than 200 rowers and the sail was easy to manage and defend.

About military, Venice Arsenale went down in history for producing the Galeazza, which fire power dusted the Turkish navy in Lepanto’s sea battle.

If you pass by Campo dell’Arsenale, you will surely notice Its monumental entrance, built in the second half of 1400 and later

integrated by elements and ornaments celebrating some of the sea battles won by Venice Republic against Genova in Echinadi islands (Greece), Lepanto against Turkish and Peloponnese under Dodge Morosini.


The first is mentioned on the decoration above the door.


Those lions watching the entrance witness Morisini’s expedition in

Peoloponnese (Greece), stolen in Athens to reach Venice by sea, their

provenance has been topic of a long debate between historians because of the mysterious incisions on the biggest lion’s shoulder on the right of the entrance.