1st Edition

The Venice Arsenal Between History, Heritage, and Re-use

Edited By Luca Zan Copyright 2023
    152 Pages 42 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book reviews four decades of debate about restoring an industrial heritage site of inestimable value – the Venice Arsenal. Focusing on the challenges of economic, financial and institutional feasibility, it reveals how failing to address these aspects has undermined potential solutions from both technicians and heritage professionals.

    With a deep connection to the city over centuries, the Arsenal was the very basis of La Serenissima’s sea power, enabling its economic expansion. Later, it maintained a vital military function through shipbuilding until World War II. But the slow process of abandonment of the traditional site’s uses and spaces continues to pose questions regarding its preservation and re-use. Drawing on original research from urban planners, architects and historians, the book provides a critical investigation into the organizational and managerial challenges of this unique site, and crucially, why so little has been achieved compared with potential opportunities.

    Featuring numerous color photographs and exploring the particular challenges of restoration and re-use facing the Venice Arsenal, this insightful evaluation of the history of this site provides a uniquely informative case for the discipline of industrial heritage.

    Part I – A reminder: on the importance of the Arsenal in the history of administration 

    1. History of management and stratigraphy of organizing

    Luca Zan 

    2. From manufacturing to industry: the turn in the late 19th century

    Pasquale Ventrice

    Part II – The state of the art: protection, preservation and re-use 

    3. The recovery of the Arsenal: the process from 1980 until today

    Claudio Menichelli 

    4. The role of the Agenzia del Demanio (State Property Agency) in enhancing the Arsenal

    Ettore Cammarata 

    5. The Società Arsenale di Venezia (SAV): from state control to municipal control

    Roberto D’Agostino 

    6. Some comments from a management studies perspective

    Luca Zan

    Part III – A controversial issue: museum and open access 

    7. Towards a museum of the Arsenal: home of Venetian civilization, history and shipbuilding

    Camillo Tonini 

    8. The Arsenal Museum: issues of spaces availability and accessibility

    Franco Mancuso 

    9. The National Museum of Naval History: a reconstruction of the project

    Claudio Menichelli 

    10. Scenarios for the Arsenal Museum: back to management

    Luca Zan

    Part IV – A research agenda: international perspectives on the Arsenal as tangible and intangible heritage 

    11. The Arsenal as intangible heritage: between historical meanings and re-uses

    Luca Zan 

    12. The Venice Arsenal, singular but not unique: towards a survey of Historic Naval Shipyards in Europe

    Valentina Gambelli 

    13. The heritization of Historic Naval Shipyards in Europe

    Paolo Ferri, Pegram Harrison, Luca Zan

    Conclusions: a policy agenda to not forget

    Luca Zan


    Luca Zan is Professor of Arts Management at the University of Bologna, Italy, and Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing; he has been adjunct faculty at Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University for several years.