Museum of the Ancient Ships, Pisa
Historic Building and Museum in Pisa
The Arsenals, constructed between 1548 and 1588 under the direction of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, were a strategic initiative aimed at bolstering his naval power and reviving the glory days of Pisa’s Maritime Republic. These grand arcaded sheds served as the shipyards for building impressive 50-meter-long galleys, which were then launched directly into the Arno River.
The Arsenals were situated within the Cittadella, a fortress dating back to 1160, but today only the San’Agnese tower remains intact. The Guelfa Tower, constructed in the early 1400s, offers panoramic views of Pisa and the Arno and underwent reconstruction after sustaining damage during World War II. Following 1543, the Cittadella was repurposed as artillery barracks and later transformed into stables for the Dragon knights, whose mission was to protect Pisa from Barbary pirates.
In the present day, the arsenal serves as an ideal venue for the Museum of Ancient Ships, exhibiting remarkable discoveries from excavations conducted in 1998. During that year, a construction project led to the unearthing of more than 30 ancient ships dating from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD—spanning the era from the Etruscans to the fall of the Roman Empire. The grand rooms and aisles originally designed for the Grand Duke’s ships now showcase restored Roman vessels and the accompanying artifacts, providing insights into voyages, trade routes, daily life aboard the ships, and tales of shipwrecks.
This website uses affiliate links which may earn a commission at no additional cost to you!
Visiting Museum of the Ancient Ships, Pisa
Friday 3.30 – 6.30 pm
Saturday and Sunday 10.30 am – 6.30 pm
Adults € 10,00, reduced € 8.00 Family € 20,00