Since 1600, the Venice Naval Historical Museum is the place dedicated to the splendor of the Venetian naval tradition. The museum is hosted in a eleventh century palace in Campo San Biagio (Arsenale), its collection is located in five levels, for a total of 42 exhibition rooms. The Ships Pavilion, now housing a detached section of the Venice Naval Historical Museum collection of historic ships, consists of three serially arranged units, and of a fourth one, of similar size, orthogonal to the first ones. The building was built in the mid-sixteenth Century as an oars workshop and storage facility. Shortly after its completion in 1577, it was temporarily adapted to house the Great Council, the main government body of the city, following the disastrous fire that had destroyed much of the Palazzo Ducale, making it useless for a long time. The rooms basically retained their function of specialized workshop for the production of oars, supported by a blacksmith workshop and storage spaces, until the mid-nineteenth Century. Following the reorganization of the Arsenal started after 1866, when Venice was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy, the premises were used as storehouses and workshops by the Military Engineers. In this period the roofing was restored, with the introduction of an interesting bidirectional system of iron ties which integrated the wooden roof trusses.
The Venice Naval Historical Museum is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm (last admission 4 pm) The Ships Pavilion is open every day from 11 am to 5 pm (last admission 4 pm)