- "The Commonwealth of Venice in their armory have this inscription: 'Happy is that city which in time of peace thinks of war'."
– Robert Burton
The Venetian Arsenal is invaluable for civilizations that seek naval supremacy. Basically, it grants you the Scythian civilization ability, but for naval units. This bonus applies to all the owner's cities, but it works only for units that are built, not those purchased with either Gold or Faith. The wonder also provides Great Engineer points, which will speed up the acquisition of Great Engineers who can develop your cities and supplement their Production potential.
Phoenicia should definitely consider building the Venetian Arsenal, since their Cothon already grants 50% bonus Production to all naval units. This wonder is also a viable choice for Brazil to make the most of their fearsome Minas Geraes. England with her Sea Dogs is yet another civilization that can benefit greatly from securing this wonder, since the Sea Dogs will be able to further bolster England's already impressive navy by capturing enemy ships. To a lesser extent, Portugal can sometimes find the Venetian Arsenal useful, provided that the map has many long coastlines along which their Naus can build Feitorias. Finally, while this wonder comes a bit late for Norway to build Viking Longships en masse, it will still be useful for building naval melee units to continue their raids.
Note that if you train a Fleet or an Armada in one of your cities, the duplicate will also be a Fleet or an Armada, making this wonder extra effective.
The Arsenal of Venice, begun about 1104 AD, was eventually a sprawling complex of shipyards, armories, and weapons shops. Built to serve the needs of the Venetian Navy upon which the Republic relied for both its independence and its lucrative sea trade routes, it was termed “the most important example of a large production complex with a centralized structure of the pre-industrial” civilization. Different areas of the Arsenal produced a prefabricated ship part, armaments, rope, sails and everything needed to put together a warship in a single day if necessity demanded. A state-owned forest in the Montello hills provided the timber and tar. The Porto Magna (“great gate”) to the Arsenal was added c. 1460, from a design by the artist Jacopo Bellini, the first Classical Revival structure built in Venice; two stone lions, captured in Greece, were added to the entrance in 1687 to awe visitors. The Arsenal also, when not launching warships to beat down Venice’s challengers in the Mediterranean, produced most of the Venetian merchant ships bringing wealth back to the city-state … to build more ships.