|From the end of the Middle Ages, Venice quickly understand the importance of free trade. Two main elements contributed to its growth : salt and shipbuilding with its arsenal.
With the lagon, salt harvets were important and Venice exported it with considerable profits. This is how the city financed the public monuments, palaces and villas of the noble chip owning families. In addition, Venice has two waterway, the first by river, with navigation on the Po and Adige, and the second by sea, with its commercial warehouses. In fact, it is thanks to maritime navigation, which allows fruitful exchanges at a lower cost and relative speed.
The merchants, aware that trade was the springboard to wealth, were active in all the markets of Greece, Crete, Armenia and even North Africa. However, the bigest business was shipbuilding. Indeed, due to conflicts with neighbouring powers, it was essential to have its own state arsenal, building its own ships, manufacturing its wapons, storing its amunition and housing its fleet. Thus, the arsenal of Venice was fonded in 1104 and is considered the most important shipyard. It ensured maritime and merchant power for more than seven centuries. The extension of this building was modified twice, in 1303 to 1325, to quadruple its manufacturing area, and again in 1473, doubling its dimensions, due to technical developements and also to the need to stand up to the Turkish fleet advancing in the Aegean Sea.
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