Arsenale bridge. Canaletto, 1732. Woburn Abbey, private Collection.

Arsenale entry today. Private photo archive.

Arsenale shipbuilding dock. Private photo archive.
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Arsenale bridge. Canaletto, 1732. Woburn Abbey, private Collection.


immagine didascalia

Arsenale entry today. Private photo archive.


immagine didascalia

Arsenale shipbuilding dock. Private photo archive.



Arsenale

The Arsenale di Venezia is a huge monumental complex with a great history. It covers about 6% of the total surface area of the islands making up Venice.

The Arsenale was the State Shipyard; built and documented in the 12th Century onwards.
It later grew to become the world’s largest shipyard at the time. This complex was so crucial for the economy and civil history of Venice that in 1509 the Senate called it the "heart of the Venetian State."

In 1400 the Arsenale was the world’s largest "industrial complex", employing more than 3000 workers – the “Arsenalotti” – and with output capacity in the 1500s of 6 galleys a month.
Extended in 1460 with a magnificent entrance portal, the Arsenale has always benefitted from good defences: surrounded by high walls and guarded by impressive towers, every effort was made to prevent others spying on the secrets of the Venetian art of ship-building.

Destroyed by the French in 1797 and rebuilt by the Austrians during their occupation of Venice, the Arsenale continued to produce ships until the early years of the Kingdom of Italy.
All activity ceased, however, in 1900 and the Arsenale is now the property of the Italian State. In recent years it has been used to host various exhibitions and other events, including the activities of the Biennale Foundation.


1100 - 1200  -   CASTELLO - rev. 0.1.6

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