VENICE  Maritime  Museum highlights 2004
by Jim Baumann

I had the opportunity of spending 4 days in that most unusual of cities Venice;  a cosmopolitan  town  steeped in Maritime connections and history like many other  ancient towns  in europe with one major difference...Not a single means of wheeled transport, obviously no motorvehicles, but also no cycles, scooters or even skateboards.! Once away from the hubbub of the waterfront near the Grand-canal the town is strangely silent, punctuated by occasional loud discusssion in Italian, the muted throb of  a powerful marine diesel  at tickover,  the creak of a Gondola oar propelling another load of sightseers overplayed by   the lone cry of a seagull....

It is a city that  is truly fascinatingly different in virtually every aspect of daily life,  as EVERYTHING  is brought, moved  and  conveyed by water. The (high speed!)water ambulances are Orange, Police  launches Blue , Taxis are varnished wood and elegant,  waterbuses a bit dented,  funeral  boats black....etc etc. There are even  traffic lights on some of the canals, to attempt to  avoid  the congestion  I happily witnessed as a refrigerated food supply boat  gingerly passed in the opposite direction to two taxis, the refuse collection barge, a brace of Gondolas as well as two moored builders supply  barges unloading into a pallazo undergoing restoration making a narrow waterway  even narrower....

For the fancier of watercraft there is a huge variety of craft from Cruise ships to workboats, warships to rowboats.. so it seems fitting that the Maritime  Museum was an excellent summary of  all waterborne craft that had an association with Venice at various stages of its long history.

Housed on five floors of the 15th Century Granary  the  MUSEO STORICO NAVALE  is owned by the Italian navy and is set  within  the  Arsenal area,  a  five minute walk  along the waterfront from St Marks Square . If visiting please note that the Museum closes for the day at 1pm.... something  which escaped me as I raced around the museum frantically shooting photos for MW having arrived at 11.30.... so some of the ships names  and dates I missed  with apologies.
Alas my lack of Italian precluded detailed  reading  of historical context, so some of the information  is sparse....

There were  many interesting exhibits where the quality of  my photograph was not good enough for  the site, if anyone wants a specific detail photo of a specific ship I may have a poorer  image which I would gladly e-mail upon request.
I also took a number of photographs of some of the models of the beautiful Italian Liners  which will appear beforee too long at the 'DEBRISFIELD'...

It being Venice I  make no apologies for including some photos of  gondola  models and dioramas!

I reccomend anyone  interested in shipping  to visit the Museum (on the pretext of a romantic break in Venice...!!)


Venetian galley, oar powered warships due to the less windy conditions of the Adriatic developed highly here.