Museum of Naval History

Funeral Barge, Padiglione dei Remi, Venice
Since May 24th the Museo Storico Navale (Museum of Naval History) has been closed for refurbishment. It is scheduled to reopen at some point in 2016, but I, for one, am not holding my breath. However the nearby Padiglione dei Remi, which used only to be open at weekends, is now open every day from 10.00 until 17.00. 
Funeral Barge, Padiglione dei Remi, Venice
I am very fond of the museum, but had never visited the padiglione, so this morning I corrected that state of affairs. 

The Padiglione dei Remi, once the part of the Arsenal where oars were made, contains a diverse range of sailing craft from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I must confess that I was left somewhat underwhelmed by the boats on display, apart from two. 

The first was a funeral barge, which had been built in the Arsenal in 1870. It was reserved for the exclusive use of dead Arsenalotti (the name given to workers at the shipyard), who were rowed by four oarsman from the church of San Biagio (the navy's chapel since the 17th century) to the cemetery on San Michele. The barge was in service until 1940. The angel on the prow holds the trumpet of resurrection. 
Royal Barge, Padiglione dei Remi, Venice
The second exhibit to arouse my curiosity was the Royal Barge, which was built in Arsenal in the first half of the nineteenth century. It was used in 1866 by King Vittorio Emanuele II to celebrate Venice becoming part of the Kingdom of Italy.  
Royal Barge, Padiglione dei Remi, Venice
The Royal Barge was used for the last time in 1959 when the body of, the recently canonised, Pope Pius X was brought back to Venice for a service in the Basilica San Marco. The Pope's body was then returned to the Basilica di San Pietro in Rome.