Galeazza Grossa

The "Galeazza Grossa", a great galley of the fifteenth century, and "secret weapon" that won the battle of Lepanto - the greatest galley battle in history - and turn the tide of history for the Mediiterranean world, appeared as a heavier version of the Galea. The latter was then a small vessel (15 meters), but soon it was enlarged and redesigned to carry artillery like the galleon. 80 meters long, with a complete deck, about 20 guns, the Galeazza was characterized by powerful "castros" like previous Byzantine ships, in place of the gun deck, to fire in all directions. Because of her weight, the Galeazza had a strong draft and required between 4 and 7 rowers per side, manned by a crew, gunners and troops, about 800 to 1000 men in total.

Above all, these heavy galleys were rigged with three Latin sails. But as they were seen like compromises between carracks and galleys, they were also built by the English, the French, and were in use on the coasts of Holland. Rigged like galleons, they could easily be confused with the latter type. Venice unleashed these six Galeazza Grossa in line at the battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571, which largely contributed to the victory of the Christian coalition against the Turks. Their height, formidable firepower, well distributed widely contributed to this victory. Galleys disappeared in the middle of the eighteenth century, just like the galley itself, especially because of the incompatibility of combining efficiently strong artillery and too many rowers. Moreover, the defeat of the invincible Armada in 1588 proved the inefficiency of Spanish Galeass outside the Mediterranean.