On May 22, 1999 I visited the doge's palace on St Mark's square in Venice. Besides numerous works of art and the famous 'bridge of sighs', this palace also has a most excellent Armuria. This armoury has a large collection of fascinating swords, armour, pole arms, crossbows, and guns in excellent condition.


Unfortunately, a museum guard told me I couldn't make photographs just as I got at the most interesting displays, but I hope you may find the following pictures of interest (which I took before I was spotted). I really don't understand why I couldn't photograph, I didn't even use a flash. If the museum were to sell a catalog on the collection I could understand, but they don't have one, just a few lousy postcards of the most ugly ceremonial swords and a chastity belt... grrr...

these are the postcards, on the left two "papal rapiers", on the right a brigantine

Here are some swords:

Unfortunately some quality is lost on the scans.

close-up of some hilts

A few nice suits of armour. Also note the hardware in the background. Those glaives are huge.

The displays I couldn't photograph contained a most interesting collection of spears and spear heads, some really impressive pole weapons, maces and battle axes. Also a considerable number of HUGE (>1.6m) two-handed swords such as this:

stolen pic of Del Tin replica

I was somewhat surprised at how thin and sharp the sword blades looked, I had imagined the blades to be thicker, especially on the two-handers. From close by these swords look much lighter than their size suggests. (Just like the armour is of thinner plate than it looks) The grip on these swords is really long. Some of the blades show signs of use (some edge damage, usually close to the tip) but the general condition of blades and fittings is outstanding.