Castello district guided tour with access to the Ships Pavilion of the Venice Arsenale

Duration: approx. 2 hours 

Location: Venice


Why choose this experience?

1 To discover the perpetual charm of a historic district of Venice with a tour accessible only to small groups
2 To enter the Arsenal of Venice and visit the Ship Pavilion with skip-the-line access
3 To be escorted by an experienced local guide who will take you through unknown places, telling you the stories and interesting fact that made them famous

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Choose your time

This tour has been already booked by 14 people

Important information


from 1 April to 31 October.

Departure point:

in front of the Equestrian Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II, along Riva degli Schiavoni, close to the Hotel Londra Palace.

Departure time

Monday, Wednesday, Saturday

10.30 am

Languages available



Full: €40.00

children from 6 to 14 years: €35.00
children up to 5 years: free

approx. 2 hours
  • Castello Venice and Ships pavillion guided tour
  • Skip-the-line entrance to the Ships Pavilion
  • What is not specified under "Inclusions"
Additional information:

Please arrive at the meeting point at least 15 minutes before the tour departure time. At the tour departure point you will meet a representative who will check your vouchers and give you information to join the tour. The assistant will be holding an orange umbrella.

No credit or refunds will be given in the case of a no-show (if you do not show up at the meeting point at the time specified on your voucher) .

This is a collective tour, which means there might be other participants going on the tour with you, up to a maximum of 15 people.

The tour will take place with a minimum of 4 participants.

In case of exceptional high tides the tour will not take place.

The tour is not suitable for wheelchair users.

Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a bottle of water if it is a hot day.

The tour ends inside the Ships Pavilion.

In exceptional cases and/or reasons of force majeure (i.e. acts of nature, strikes, exceptional closures,serious unexpected events or health problems experienced by the person in charge with the service after which it is really impossible to find a substitute) the service you booked might be cancelled. If this should happen, you will be informed as soon as possible and, according to the type of service you booked, you will have the possibility to choose between postponing the service on the first date available or receiving a total refund of the price paid, if the cancellation policy of the service itself allows a refund.

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Full description

Beyond conventional tourist itineraries there is a Venice that is all to be relished, with an artistic beauty that cannot be relished by mass tourism and where you can still sense the traditions of the past... These areas are waiting to be discovered by perceptive and attentive tourists!

To this kind of visitors we would like to offer a Castello Venice and Ships Pavilion guided tour that combines the convenience of a group visit with the practicality of being part of a small group, escorted by an expert local guide: their experience and attachment to Venice will guide you during a two-hour long visit to Castello in Venice and its Arsenale! Away from the crowds of the major tourist sites, you will get close to the folk’s spirit of the city, where the undisputed symbol of Venetian hegemony lies: the Arsenal.

Here you will have the unique opportunity to access the interior of the historic military area, to this date still closed to the public, to discover the untouched charm of the powerful shipping industry of Venice. Accompanied by the stories of the guide on the Venetian fleet you will have direct access to the Ships Pavilion, thanks to the convenient skip-the-line service included in the cost of the tour.

With a convenient meeting point, located near St Mark’s Square, it will be very easy for you to meet with the guide who will take you through the meandering maze of streets and squares that continue to radiate a deep charming atmosphere. Walking surrounded by churches and historic buildings you will be pleasantly entertained by the explanation about the history of this powerful Republic that based its success on the undisputed domination of the seas. Here, in the Castello district, was the location of all the maritime operations that underpinned the economy of Venice.

Your Venice Arsenale Ships Pavilion visit will start at the meeting point specified on the voucher received at the end of the online booking and then continue through the former Bragora Square (today known as Bandiera and Moro) and calle della Morte, which, as it will be revealed to you, takes its name from the legend according to which those sentenced to death were lured inside by deception and killed.

The Castello district and Venice Arsenal walking tour continues with the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, the ancient brotherhood of the Dalmatian community, frescoed by Vittore Carpaccio in the early sixteenth century, and continue to San Francesco della Vigna. This sixteenth century church is one of the most interesting examples of religious building in Venice: just consider that it still retains its original monastery, perfectly embedded in the surrounding residential fabric through a columned portico. The precious funeral chapels in the inside were built by noble Venetian families and decorated by the greatest artists of the time.

The tour will then continue up to Celestia, the eastern end of Castello which offers a breath-taking panoramic view over the lagoon to the islands of San Michele and Murano. Here, through a walkway built around the outer walls of the Arsenal and over Ponte Paradiso, you will arrive at the monumental entry portal: the Lions door. This magnificent entrance is framed by two high crenelated wall sections and takes its name from the four ancient marble lions supporting the 1460 door.

The term Castello is derived from the ancient city walls built to defend the Arsenal, a secret and inaccessible area where naval engineers designed increasingly strong and powerful ships. The Republic of Venice practiced a rigid control over the ship workers to avoid the risk that rival maritime republics came into possession of their high level of technical specialization. The history-steeped fort-like walls of the Arsenale, totally encircled by the Castello district, have ensured an exceptional level of preservation, to the point that it is still possible to breathe inside the Arsenale an authentic atmosphere, rich in tradition and stories passed down through the generations.

After the tour of the Venice Arsenale, the visit will continue to the Ships Pavilion, where you will have direct access with the exclusive skip-the-line entrance. Built in the sixteenth century as a naval workshop and oars deposit of the Republic of Venice, this building houses some of the most remarkable examples of original vessels of the time. In addition to military vessels you will have the opportunity to admire the Disdotto, the funeral Gondola used to transport the Doge’s body, and also the Bucintoro, the most famous vessel of the Venetian Republic. Used as the Doge’s official boat, it was considered the most luxurious means of transportation, with a pure gold coating and lavish decorations that adorned both its sides.

Do not wait any longer! Book online your Arsenale guide and Ships pavillion with skip the line entrance: a local guide will take you into the heart of the city to discover the authentic side of Venice! You'll also have the opportunity to visit the Venice Arsenale, to this day still closed to the public and, because of this, preserving its original appearance. In addition, the skip-the-line entry will grant you instant access to the Ships Pavilion, which houses splendid examples of Venetian boats of the time!

© Insidecom Tour Operator
(authorization no. 62027 dated 09/07/12 with determination no. 2052/2012)
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