Construction of the Arsenal began in around 1004, with a major expansion in 1320, and addition of the main gate (seen above) in 1460. Encircled by 4 km of 8 metre high walls, it reached its industrial peak in the 16th century. At this point it had produced over 3000 ships, it occupied at least a tenth of Venice, and 16000 people lived and worked there.
Looking it from the main gate, it is not possible to appreciate the size and strength of this place. To get some idea, take a look at the clip below. This is part of a fascinating BBC series showing the normally-invisible interior of Italian cities. Skip to 32:20 minutes to see the Arsenale, but I strongly recommend watching the whole thing if you would like an intimate view of amazing Venice.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 2 March 2017
Part of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge