Time Out says
Any chance to enter this fascinating complex should be seized.
The word arsenale derives from the Arabic dar sina’a, meaning ‘house of industry’: the
industry, and efficiency, of Venice’s Arsenale was legendary: the arsenalotti could assemble
a galley in just a few hours. Shipbuilding activities began here in the 12th century; at the height of the city’s power, 16,000 men were employed. Production expanded until the 16th century, when Venice entered its slow but inexorable economic decline. Once a hive of empire- building industry, it’s now an expanse of empty warehouses and docks, though parts have been beautifully restored and are used for Biennale-related events.