Today, the Naval History Museum is located near the Arsenal in Venice, in the Castello sestiere. It belongs to the Italian Navy but it was the Austrians, in 1815 unofficially, who decided to found a museum in honour of the Venetian fleet. The original nucleus of the museum dates back to 1866. The intent of the exhibition is to trace the history of the Venetian and Italian navy, a unique project.
Museum, ships' pavilion and the Church of San Biagio
The museum was officially founded in 1919 by the General Staff and has been housed in the present building since 1964. The present building is located in Campo San Biagio and was originally a warehouse of the Venetian Republic. The building that houses the museum rooms in fact dates back to around the 15th century.
Since 1983, the Naval History Museum of Venice has boasted another exhibition area called the 'Padiglione delle Navi', not far from the museum. The Ships Pavilion displays original ships such as ceremonial gondolas as well as working boats. Also in the pavilion you will find the glorious motosilurante and various racing boats. The museum complex also includes the Church of San Biagio ai Forni, an ancient Venetian church.
The museum halls
The Venice Naval History Museum boasts 42 rooms with an exhibition area of 42,000 square metres spread over five floors.
On the lower floor, before the entrance, are two Austro-Hungarian battleships. At the entrance you will find the memorial to Angelo Emo, the last 'capitano da mar' of the Venetian navy. In the church of San Biagio ai Forni you will find the tomb of the Venetian hero. Opposite you will admire a slow-running torpedo from World War II. On the same floor you will find a stern light from a Venetian galley.
On the first floor you will find a replica of the Doge's ceremonial boat, the Bucintoro. Here you will also find a replica of a galley used in the victory over the Turks during the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.
The second floor is dedicated to the Italian navy with memorabilia and paintings.
On the third floor you will find the gondola hall. In this room you will also find the gondola that belonged to Peggy Guggenheim. Chinese junks can also be found here.
The fourth floor focuses on the Swedish navy and its links with the Italian navy.
This is a museum for fans of ships, military history and lovers of Venetian boats. If you find yourself walking around Castello, we recommend a visit with the help of our map.
Wed-Mon: 11:00 - 17:00