Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Arsenale Gate

photo by Martina Zane

Here's a nice view of the famous entrance to Venice's Arsenale.
Her twin towers date back to the 16th century, when things were very different in the Mediterranean.
So much could be written about this facility and the role it played in the history of Venice, and the world.

Known by many names throughout history, the term "a city within a city" stands out as fairly accurate - the Arsenale employed thousands. 
In the 16th century some 16,000 are said to have worked there.
Workshops produced all manner of things from various materials.
Warships were built here, using one of Europe's first assemblyline systems. 
At the height of the Arsenale's efficiency, workers could produce an entire ship, fully outfitted and ready to go to sea, in 24 hours.
This was an amazing thing to see, and an frightfully intimidating thing when displayed to visiting heads of state.

These days the Arsenale sits mostly empty and quiet.  
Like so many other icons of Venetian, her glory is faded but not forgotten.


staff said...

The Arsenale (Arzanà dè Viniziani as Dante Alighieri wrote in his Divina Commedia) was the first assemblyline of the World not just one the first in Europe.

Bob Easton said...
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Bob Easton said...

typos corrected....

They also have a superb nautical museum, with a few very old boats, and models of all sorts of boats and ships covering hundreds of years. Up on the top floor are a few gondole, models of a couple of squeri, and models demonstrating the construction of a gondola.

Particulary impressive is a very large model of "The Last Bucintoro." I have a collection of pictures of that model at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/73765615@N00/sets/72157622466924021/

If you have an interest in naval history of almost any sort, or of Italian and European history of 1500-1900, don't miss the museum at The Arsenale.