About The Venetian Ship Pavilion

About The Venetian Ship Pavilion

Venice is quite literally brimming with things to do and places to see. Some are better known than others.

Venice is quite literally brimming with things to do and places to see. Some are better known than others. One of the slightly less well-known attractions in Venice is the Ships Pavilion, which is hidden away in Venice’s Castello district. The team at Venice Events offer a walking tour that shows our guests this fascinating area and the wonderful Ships Pavilion that’s located there. Here’s why this hidden gem should be on your itinerary when you visit Venice:


Tour the inside of the Ships Pavilion and see the boats that played an important role in Venice’s maritime history.

Venice is known for her beauty, art, architecture and history. Since she is a city built on water, none of this would have been possible without her being able to command the sea. And for Venice to command the sea, she needed vessels. That’s why the Ships Pavilion is so interesting. It’s another side to the story of Venice.

When you consider how important ships were to Venice, the pavilion is a relatively small museum. However, combined with a tour of the Castello district, it is very worthwhile as there are some wonderful stories to uncover here with the help of an independent tour guide (as there are no guides in the pavilion itself).

Inside the Venetian Ships Pavilion, you’ll find a beautiful gilded 18-oar royal boat, built in the nearby Arsenale. It was used for official journeys – including transporting royalty. There’s also the funeral gondola of the Venetian Doges, and the Bucentaur/Bucintoro – which was the state barge of the Doges. They used this every year on Ascension Day when they would sail out into the lagoon and perform the ‘marriage of the seas’ ceremony, symbolically wedding Venice to the seas.

Then – at the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find a torpedo motorboat from World War II, as well as a coal-fired motorboat from the 19th Century.

A visit to Venice’s Ships Pavilion can also offer the opportunity to explore the Castello district – and you will escape the crowds at the same time.

In Castello, home of the Ships Pavilion, you’ll be able to escape the crowds and see a little of the ‘real Venice’. On the Venetian Ships Pavilion and the Castello District walking tour we mentioned at the beginning, you’ll walk through what seems like a labyrinth of atmospheric alleyways to reach Castello. On the way, you’ll experience the ‘street of death’ and hear about the people who were murdered here by the Venetian Council of 10.

See the Arsenale – once the most important ship-building yard in Europe.

If you plan to accompany our Venice Events team on the Venetian Ships Pavilion and the Castello District walking tour you’ll walk past the infamous Arsenale – once Europe’s most important and most influential shipyards. You’ll also pass the houses of some of the most famous captains and merchants from the Venetian Navy.

Devour views of the Island of Murano from Celestia.

From this part of town, you’ll also get wonderful views of Murano – the island that’s famed for its glass making, as well as the San Michele cemetery.

It is best to visit the Venetian Ships Pavilion with a guide who is versed in the naval history of Venice. The Pavilion itself doesn’t offer guided tours, and without a guide, you won’t always be able to appreciate the story behind the exhibits. If you plan to visit Venice and the Venetian Ships Pavilion, the team at Venice Events would love to show you around. You can join us on Venetian Ships Pavilion and the Castello District walking tour we mentioned previously.

You can also hop over to our tours page and see reviews of what our clients thought about this tour. Like Jo and Lui form the USA who took the tour in May 2016:

‘We booked the new morning tour of the Venetian Ships Pavilion and the Castello district – finally a tour away from the crowds. All of my family thought it was a real value for money tour. We visited areas of the city that were full of history and surprises, walking through small streets and coming out in wonderful squares. We ended the tour in the Ships Pavilion. Our local guide presented an enormous amount of interesting information. We were never tired of what he had to say. Our kids enjoyed it too. We have taken several tours in Venice but this was the best.’

You can also check our Facebook Page or tripadvisor page to find out more about what our other clients have said about their experience with the Venice Events team.

We’d love to see you in Venice soon.