Venetian Ships Pavilion & the Castello district

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Rated: 5.00

Level of activity: Easy

Venetian Ships Pavilion & the Castello district

Activity highlights

  • 2-hour walking tour of Castello and a visit to the 16th century Venetian Ships Pavillion;
  • Small group tour with a maximum of 15 people per tour;
  • Escape the crowds by visiting a different area of the city;
  • Skip-the-line tickets avoid the public queues with our special pass into Ships Pavillion;
  • Fully qualified local guide;
  • Great for families.


Discover this unique area of Venice and escape the crowds on our small group walking tour visiting the area of Castello and the inside of the historical venetian Ships Pavilion part of the Arsenale. The Pavilion was built in the mid 16th century as an oars workshop and storage facility supported by a blacksmith workshop and houses vessels of great historical importance.

Experience the magic of the real Venice as we wander through its back streets (Calle) and through hidden squares (Campi). On this essential off the beaten track walking tour discover the fascinating history of the Serenissima and what its like living in this unique city.

Meet you local guide in front of the equestrian monument of Vittorio Emanuele II, which is just a short walk along the water front not too far from Saint Marks Square. We make our way through the labyrinth of alleyways into the heart of Castello, the largest residential area of Venice. Passing through Campo Della Bragora, now Bandiera e Moro and then through Calle Della Morte (Street of death), your guide will tell you about the people sentenced to death here, by the Venetian Council of 10. We continue our tour and arrive at the School of San Giorgio Degli Schiavoni, which holds a painting by the famous artist “Carpaccio”. We then continue our walking tour to San Francesco Della Vigna, the church is dedicated to San Francesco Di Assisi.

Crossing the Ponte Del Cristo we arrive at the Celestia, which is on the eastern side of the city overlooking Saint Michele's cemetery and the Island of Murano where they make the glass. We then following a special constructed walkway which goes around the outer wall of the Arsenale, (which means the house of industry). Today this is a military area and not open to the public, and once known as the most important ship building yard in Europe. We continue our walking tour making our way towards the magnificent entrance of the Arsenale passing traditional maritime houses of famous captains and merchants from the Venetian Navy. 

Arriving at the Ships Pavilion we skip-the-line with your guide, here you will see many historical Venetian boats, including the Bucinotoro, the Disdotto, the funeral Gondola of Venetian Doges and also several war ships, giving you a real feel of the maritime history of the city.


What's included

  • Guided Tour of the area of Castello and the Ships Pavilion;
  • Admission fees;
  • Skip-the-line entrance to the Ship Pavillion;
  • Live tour commentary provided in English.

What's not included

  • Optional gratuites;
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off;
  • Food and drink, unless specified.

Good to know

  • Maximum group size is 15 people;
  • This activity is not wheelchair accessible;
  • Check-in is 15 minutes prior to the booked tour start time;
  • Please wear comfortable walking shoes;
  • Bring a bottle of water if it's a hot day;
  • The tour ends inside the Ships Pavilion. 


  • Equestrian Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II;
  • Campo della Bragora;
  • School of St. Giorgio degli Schiavoni;
  • San Francesco della Vigna;
  • Ships Pavilion.

Last 5 reviews

  • Reviewed by Georgina N on October 27th, 2016

    Lorenzo was early and we set off. His knowledge was fantastic, and he really knew Castello, and lives in this district. We learnt a huge amount abut this amazing district of Venice and left all the crowds behind. He showed us jewels like the convent garden. Our finale was the museum, which if you like boats is really interesting, especially the royal motor barge and the ww1 motor torpedo boat with its triple marinised aircraft engines. If you like history, architecture and seeing hidden jewels and away from the crowds, I highly recommend this trip.  
  • Reviewed by Jo and Lui - USA on May 5th, 2016

    We would like to say a huge thank you to Venice walks & tours and our guide Francesco. We booked the new morning tour of the Venetian Ships Pavilion & the Castello district, finally a walking tour away from the crowds in the residential area of the city. Although it was a little rainy we were not disappointed and all of my family thought it was a real value for money tour. We visited the areas of the city that were full of history and surprises,walking through small streets and coming out in wonderful squares and ended the tour inside the ships pavilion in the area of the arsenal. Our local guide Francesco had good english and presented an enormous amount of knowledgable and interesting information, we were never tired of what he had to say and our kids enjoyed it too. We have taken several tours in Venice but this was the best we have ever taken and with the small sized group it felt like a semi private tour. We will certainly recommend it to our friends coming to Venice. Thanks again

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