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 churches of Santa Maria and Santa Fosca
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 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
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