Museo Storico Navale

Museum in Castello

Maritime madness spans 42 rooms at this museum of naval history, featuring scale models of Venetian-built vessels as well as Peggy Guggenheim's not-so-minimalist gondola. Downstairs you'll find galleries of fearsome weaponry and 17th-century dioramas of forts and ports. Upstairs you can gawk at a sumptuous model of the bucintoro, the doge's gilded ceremonial barge, destroyed by Napoleonic troops in 1798.

Although the minutiae of the exhibits will mostly be of interest to enthusiasts, the collection illustrates the incredible span of Venetian power across the Adriatic and Mediterranean over the centuries. In addition, it covers Italian naval history and memorabilia, from unification to the present day.

The ticket also includes entrance to the Padiglione delle Navi, a series of Arsenale sheds displaying typical Venetian vessels. The most eye-catching is the Scalé Reale, an early 19th-century ceremonial boat used to ferry King Vittorio Emanuele to Piazza San Marco in 1866 when Venice joined the nascent Kingdom of Italy.