The Arsenale (Arsenal) is a shipyard in the area of Sestiere di Castello. It’s a symbol of the glorious period of the Serenissima, when Venice was very powerful; in fact, thanks to the ships constructed here, Venice managed to defeat the Turkish fleet on more than one occasion. The Arsenal represents the most remarkable example of preindustrial architecture.

Its construction was begun in 1104, according to the wishes of the Doge Ordelaro Faliero, and continued during the XIV, XV and XVI centuries.

After the collapse of the Costantinopoli Empire, in 1453, The Porta Magna (The central gate) and the two towers next to the portal above the water were built and later restored in the XVII century. The main entrance is inspired by the triumphal arches of Rome; two Greek lions are placed on the side of the gate.

From 1473 to 1570, residences for workers and stores for cereal were built in a large area, the so called Darsena Nuovissima. During the Republic of Venice, more than 16.000 people worked at the Arsenal, many ships were constructed and the Arsenal became the centre of Venetian economic development.

During Napoleon’s Empire the Arsenal’s activities severely diminished and more than 2,000 workers were fired. However, between 1876 and 1909 the Arsenal strongly grew, for the last time. Italy had an important port in the Adriatic Sea and so the new area of Piazzale Bacini was added. Later, it was restructured to be the present Darsena Grande.

Today, the Arsenal is no longer the powerful shipyard that it was during the time of Serenissima. Now, it’s home to many cultural activities. In the Arsenal you can visit the Historical Naval Museum.

Address: Riva S. Biasio Castello, 2148
Phone: 041 2441399 Fax: 041 5200276
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:45a.m – 1:30p.m / Saturday and prefestive 8:45a.m – 1:00p.m / Closed every Sunday and during festivities
Ticket prices: € 1.55 / free entrance for school children
How to get there: lines 1, 41, 82 / (drop off: Giardini sx); 51, 61 (pick up: Giardini Biennale dx) line 42 / (drop off: F.TE NOVE DX) line 51; (pick up: F.TE NOVE SX) line 42 / (drop off: MURANO FARO M/S SX) line DM; (pick up: MURANO FARO M/S SX) line 42.

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