As detailed in our Cookie Policy, like most sites Strolling Guides uses cookies to enhance your experience, and to share information about how you use our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Unless you disable cookies in your browser, using this website means you consent to this.

Torcello

Location

Venice_lagoon Map

Last Visited: 2013

Strada della Rosina

Strada della Rosina

Looking at it now, it is almost impossible to believe that Torcello was once a major city with numerous palazzi, twelve parishes, sixteen cloisters and a population estimated to have reached 20,000 at its height.

Nowadays there is a single street/canal a cluster of houses, a church, a cathedral and a museum. The permanent population is now around sixty.

It is thought that the Venetians first moved here after Atila the Hun destroyed the Roman city of Altinum on the mainland in AD 452.

Strada della Rosina

Strada della Rosina

Whilst the shallowness of the northern lagoon made Torcello easy to settle in the early days, this eventually led to its downfall through a combination of malaria, the silting up of the canals and the introduction of larger vessels.

From the twelfth century onwards the inhabitant moved home (quite literally, taking most of the usable building materials with them) to the deeper waters of modern Venice. Fragments of the many churches and other buildings can be seen in the museum, which is housed in two fourteenth century palazzi.

Santa Maria Assunta and Santa Fosca

The Baptistry

The Baptistry

The Cathedral Church of Santa Maria Assunta can trace its foundation back to AD 639 when the Bishop of Altinum moved his seat to the island following further Germanic invasions.

Only the baptistry and part of the central apse date from this period. Most of what you see today dates from the 11th, 13th and 14th centuries.

Inside there are some Byzantine Mosaics thet nearly rival those in St Mark╩╝s Basilica, and wonderful carved marble panels. There is a brief audio tour available, but photography is not allowed.

Next door is the smaller church of Santa Fosca built in the 11th and 12th centuries and still used for regular worship.