Arsenal of Venice

Ponte de l'Arsenal. (Open Map)


According to tradition the Arsenal of Venice was founded in 1104; it has been enlarged over the centuries, coming to occupy a large part of the northeast area of the city. The term Arsenale is a corruption of the Arab word darsina’a - a house of industry - and for centuries it was the largest in the world with over 16.000 employees at its peak when there were hundreds of galley ships in its basins, ready for war. On the wall to the right of the entranceway is a bust depicting Dante Alighieri, recalling a visit the poet made to Venice in 1321. Still mainly closed to tourism, the Arsenale is sometimes used for notably important exhibitions and trade fairs.