Heritage gaming

a cluster of games to discover the Venice Arsenal

Learn more about one of the most fascinating heritage sites in the city, the Arsenale of Venice, through games.

An innovative approach designed for different types of users, inviting them to discover a site still unknown to many, with outstanding historical and patrimonial implications. This is the objective of Arsenalia, a cluster of games created by Venti di Cultura in the framework of the European project I_Improve, funded by the Erasmus + program, as an output of the Venetian partner who has chosen the Arsenale of Venice as the project area.

The Arsenale of the Serenissima Republic, Maffioletti 1796

The project, which began in 2018 with a partnership that includes Sweden (Stockholm), Belgium (Ostend), Austria (Vienna), Lithuania (Vilnius), Poland (Gdansk) and Italy (Venice), which has now come to an end, aimed at the identification and development of experimental and innovative activities, in carrying out the usual cultural activities of the partners.

It is a board game, developed by Leo Collovini of studiogiochi and titled “The Doge’s Secret“; an urban game developed by Marisa Convento and titled “Hunt for beads“; and the project for a digital game developed by Francesco Calzolaio with SPACE, entitled “Virtual Arsenal Museum”.

The idea that unifies the three games conceived by Venti di Cultura is to propose innovative cultural services for the Arsenale, capable of offering the visitor a visiting experience mediated by new tools. Heritage gaming is a driving force for inclusive and participatory processes of knowledge and sharing of cultural heritage. Hence, the Arsenalia system of games, making the extraordinary heritage of knowledge and stories of the Arsenale ‘captivating’ in a curious way, can put the visitor not only in contact with the cultural depth of the places he passes through, but can also animate them with the clash of work being done there.

The Arsenale today, image by Sara Pitteri

Arsenalia therefore intends to offer a playful visiting experience, reconnecting the Arsenal with its recent and distant history, with the wisdom of the trades it housed and protected, with the adventures that departed from here to sail the known seas, taking the visitor beyond the physical and cultural walls that separate it from its immediate and remote context.

These tools were also developed with the help of the actors who have responsibility for the management of the Arsenale, and some of the associations that have been dealing with its cultural heritage for years. They are shared products that can be developed and managed by the actors involved, beyond the time limits of the European project.

Once again Venice is a bridge between the lagoon and Europe, as a place of cultural production, and the Arsenal of Venice, the crucible of the Venetian naval force which, for centuries, has dominated the Mediterranean, can return to being competitive today on the level of the cultural offer, as unique both as a proto-industrial model and as an architectural complex, perfectly preserved up to the present day.

A short documentary


July 2021: conference at Italian Council of Europe seat. Report link

June 2021: discussion at the Torre delle Vele in Arsenale, hosted by Vela, participated by representants of the Navy, La Biennale di Venezia, and some local associations

June 2021: urban game general rehearsal in Arsenale, hosted by Vela, participated by representants of the Navy, La Biennale di Venezia, and some local associations

June 2021: rehearsal of the board game with the authors of Studiogiochi, the Navy and the Venice Biennale

February 2020: board game test at the Italian Office of the Council of Europe

February 2020: urban game restricted test for pandemic

March 2019: Visit of the Swedish partners to the Arsenale with the Navy

January 2019: Visit to Vilnius at the Lithuanian partners Laimikis, specialized on urban games

January 2019: board game test with the authors of Studiogiochi and the Tana del Goblin association

December 2018: Heritage Walk for the final conference of the 2018 European Year of Culture 

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