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Madonna dell' Arsenale

These are the gates to the Arsenale, the famed shipyards which were the source of much of the Venetian Republic's wealth. There used to be a small Renaissance church to the right of these gates and thanks to a painting by Canaletto, we can see what it looked like.


Madonna dell 'Arsenale was built in the 16th century by an unknown architect who modeled it on a Greek temple. Looks like a sweet little place. It was demolished in the early 19th century.

Madonna dell' Arsenale, Canaletto

In the painting, you can see a relief of the lion of San Marco over the door to the church and maybe some mosaics underneath that.


This little church housed an altar for a revered 14th century wooden crucifix that was carried on a Venetian ship during the 1571 Battle of Lepanto. This crucifix is now in the nearby church of San Martino.

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Comments (6)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, it's interesting to see the comparison of your photo to the painting. Its too bad that it was demolished. It was interesting to read the history that it once housed the revered wooden crucifix too.

Thanks for this very interesting post Annie. I really enjoyed learning more about parts of Venice that I have not yet seen.

Have a great evening!


Thanks for this personal history lesson. It's educational and interesting to compare the then and now .. and I'm always drawn to Canaletto's artistry. menehune

The then and now is always interesting. Thanks for the information, Annie.

Neat post! I always like to go hang around the Arsenale area, usually seems like there are fewer tourists over there.

I have yet to see this part of Venice. Came close to last October but did not have the time to venture that way.

I clicked on the Canaletto tag on the post and read about his inclination on moving things around. Pretty wild to see the horses prancing in the Piazetta!

I was just reading Doctored Evidence and Brunetti was commenting on the lions at the Arsenale, wondering whether the men who carved them ever saw a real one. Are the lions ‘funny’ looking?

Thanks everyone.

Maria, one lion in particular is pretty goofy looking; I'll post some photos.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 15, 2009 3:01 PM.

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