The Arsenal was in the past an import shipyard and naval depot in the Republic of Venice. It was constructed in 1140 and is located in the Castello district. The Republic of Venice was founded in the 7th century and ended in 1797 when Napoleon’s army Venice occupied.
In 1320 the Arsenal was extended with a new part and became much larger. All navy boats and the larger merchant ships were now constructed and maintained at the Arsenal. The shipyard grew into a large industrial area where not only ships but also arms, munition and ropes were produced. The Arsenal had even its own forest.
In the 16th century, 16.000 people were working in the Arsenal. They could build allmost a ship in one day. Venice was a leading power in the Mediterranean and a center of commerce (silk, grain, spice). Rich traders build palazzo’s on the Grand Canal.
The Republic of Venice and its territories (yellow)
In red: The Republic of Genoa (1005 – 1797)
The Biennale Venice is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place every two years. Most wellknown are the International Film Festival and the International Art Exhibition. One of the venues of the Biennale is the Arsenal with 50.000 m2 space for exhibitions and live performances.
The Arsenal is in the Castello District and easy to reach. Walking from St. Mark’s Square along the waterfront on Riva degli Schiavoni to the Arsenal takes about 15-20 minutes. Two public water buses have a stop at ‘Arsenale’: line 1 and line 41/42. With line 1, it takes 46 minutes by public water bus from Piazzale Roma (bus, taxi, parking) to the Arsenal; from Santa Lucia train station it’s 43 minutes. From St. Mark’s Square is only 7 minutes by water bus.