Home Venice The Island of Torcello in Venice

The Island of Torcello in Venice

The Island of Torcello in Venice
The Island of Torcello in Venice

Just about 10 permanent residents live nowadays in Torcello island that was one of the first island of the lagoon to be inhabited since the seventh century. Here you can find some hotels, Locanda Cipriani and almost nothing else. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, today Torcello island is a favoritedestination by  tourists. The peace  and the important historical and archaeological sites, make it the ideal place where to spend a day without the hustle and crowds of Venice.

The island born before Venice

Probably after  the transfer of the Catholic Bishop of Altino on the island,  in 638, much of the population has followed the high priest in Torcello. The following year he founded the Basilica of Santa Maria. The Torcello economy experienced its most profitable time between the seventeenth and the year one thousand when the ability of the people in the trade allowed a  growth of businesses on the island. The success of Venice  of later centuries  accentuated the decline of Torcello. Even the bishop left the island in the mid-1600s and moved to Murano. With the decline of Torcello, the island was turned into a huge cave with buildings left in ruins that were dismantled to provide bricks and building material for building development in Venice. Fortunately some resistant residents allowed to preserve the medieval forms of the Basilica and the Church of Santa Fosca, avoiding the rebuilding in  Renaissance or Baroque style.

The Devil's Bridge

Walking along the main stream of Torcello, in an area where today there are only orchards, you’ll see  the Devil’s Bridge. According to local legend, it was built in one night by the devil and is unfinished. In fact, the legend of the devil who builds bridges is widespread throughout Italy and dates back to the time when you could not explain how a bridge could remain standing!

The Devil's Bridge at Torcello
The Devil’s Bridge at Torcello

The churches of Santa Maria and Santa Fosca

The church of Santa Maria
The church of Santa Maria


Side by side, the churches of Santa Maria and Santa Fosca look  like two bastions through the passage of time and the decadence of Torcello. Santa Maria dates back to 639 but it was rebuilt and dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta in 1008 when  it was decided to add  the three naves. The church contains a beautiful mosaic on the back wall, of  Venetian-Byzantine school of 1100-1200 and depicting the Apotheosis of Christ and the Last Judgment. Even the floor of the church is an exceptional mosaic, probably dating from the ninth century.

The church of Santa Fosca
The church of Santa Fosca

The Museum of Torcello

The history of Torcello Museum began in 1870, when the  Prefect Torelli of Venice bought the building of the Council with the aim of collecting  ancient objects found both on the islands and on the mainland of Venice. Today the small museum has an exceptional archaeological collection that tells a lot about the history of Torcello and the origins of Venice itself.

Timetables , tickets and other information to visit to the Museum of Torcello
Where: Torcello Square
How to get there
By Steamers:
You arrive first in Burano from Venice FondamentaNuove station  and then in 5 minutes by boat you get to Torcello.
From Piazzale Roma: Line 4.1, line 4.2 or line 5.2,  to FondamentaNuove, then return with Line 12, stop Burano.
From Venice Saint Lucia Railway Station: Line 4.1, line 4.2 or line 5.2,  to FondamentaNuove, change with line 12, stop Burano
From Lido: Line 5.1,  to FondamentaNuove, change with line 12, stop Burano
Winter hours: 1 / 11-28 / 2  from 10 am to 5 pm
Summer hours: 1 / 3-31 / 10 from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm
Closed on Mondays and public holidays, November 21 – (opened August 15)
Ticket: full price € 3