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Historical Naval Museum



The Naval History Museum of Venice, founded in 1919 after the First World War, is located in a historic 15th century building used as a "granary" for the conservation of the grain that was used for the special ovens that packaged a particular type of long-life bread. , called "biscotto", suitable for boarding the galleys departing from the "Serenissima".


And it was precisely the Arsenal, the most famous naval historical monument that exists in Italy, to give life, at the end of the seventeenth century, to what can be considered the ancestor of the current Museum with good reason: "The House of Models" .


This was the place where the various models of ships were collected, which at the time replaced the design drawings: on the basis of the models, compared to scale, the boats were then built in their natural state.


The "Model House" was sacked in December 1797, during the French occupation, as were the "Sale dell'armar" of Palazzo Ducale, where weapons, relics and trophies were sacked in the same period. of war of the Republic of Venice. Much of the ancient wealth of the Serenissima was lost and what remained was later recovered and preserved by the Austrians, who took over from the French, within the walls of the Arsenale.


At the end of the Austrian rule (1866), the remaining relics were rearranged and placed in a single location which formed the first nucleus of the "Arsenale Museum", located inside the Arsenale itself.


Subsequently, in 1919, the General Staff decided to establish a single Historical Museum of the Navy, bringing together the various relics scattered in the Arsenals and on board the Royal Ships. The war trophies and weapons of the Serenissima returned instead to their historic headquarters in the Doge's Palace. Later it was decided to establish, as well as the Naval History Museum of Venice, also a Naval Technical Museum based in the Arsenale of La Spezia.


In the first museum all the objects of prevalent historical and artistic interest were collected, in the second the technical materials were concentrated.




The initial seat of the Naval History Museum was a building located inside the Arsenale near its main entrance. In 1964 the Museum was moved to its current location in Campo S. Biagio, in an exhibition area that is spread over five levels in 42 rooms, for a total of 4,000 square meters.


Since 1983, in addition to this main building, the Ships Pavilion has been part of the Museum, about 1250 square meters, located in three warehouses known both because of the ancient "factory or oar workshop" of the Arsenal galleys, and because it met the Maggior Consiglio for about ten years, after a fire in 1577 made the Palazzo Ducale and the Church of San Biagio unusable. The latter, from the 11th century and renovated in the 18th, was an ancient church of the Venetian navy first and later of the Austrian one, recently returned to the cult for religious functions of the Navy personnel, and is itself an "exhibition area" of the Museum.


Now those ancient warehouses have been restored and brought back to their original sixteenth-century vision to be used for the conservation of the larger hulls that could not be placed in the main building of the museum. In recent years, two other open spaces have been assigned to the museum, inside the ancient Arsenal, where a glorious World War II Motozattera and a "Toti" class submarine have been housed: the Dandolo.



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