Visit Torcello Island | Venice means romance, palaces, bridges, canals and a long history. The tiny island of Torcello is a tourist part of the northern lagoon, where the effects of the tides are no longer felt.
This is known not only by the few inhabitants, but also by the many tourists who come to visit the island year after year. It will hardly win the rank as a tourist island against Venice. But a sightseeing highlight for visitors it is nevertheless.
Location, nothing but location
To the islands Burano and Mazzorbo it is only 150 meters away. Torcello is separated from its location only by the "Canale di Burano. So it’s a short walk to the small islet with a total area of just 44.17 hectares, which is the size of exactly 441.699 square meters, which is shared by only 14 permanent residents outside the tourist season.
✓ The visibility over the island is also extremely good, after all the island is only two meters high.
How to get to Torcello?
The approach to Torcello is only possible by waterway. So either with the public water buses or as part of a recommended round trip, which also stops in Murano and Burano. Suggestions later in the text. Furthermore also the Hop-on Hop-off boat tour(again from spring 2022)in Torcello. Much info also on the page of the Ticket provider.
How to get there by water bus
If you want to go to Torcello on your own take the Vaparetto Line 12, Departure from Fondamente Nuove A in the north of the lagoon town. From ca. 10:00 to 19:30 there are departures about every 30 minutes. Line 12 mainly serves the well-known islands of the Venice Lagoon, i.e Murano, Burano and Torcello.
Travel time from the Nuove A ferry terminal in Venice to Torcello is 45 minutes. If you want to visit the islands I mentioned, you can find lots of information, including how to get there, in my separate articles on the islands worth visiting Murano and Burano .
The trips with the water buses, Valparettos, is expensive. One-way tickets for a maximum of 75 minutes cost from € 7.50. It is better to buy day tickets for 24, 48 or 72 hours, valid from the first validation. This is much more practical, applies to the whole of Venice, including the islands, and also for trips to Lido di Venezia.
It may also be worth visiting the Venice City Pass to buy. With a 3-day pass – Complete – you can take as many water rides and excursions as you want, get admission to the must see sight Doge’s Palace , as well as free access to interesting church buildings and museums
The tourist magnet has its own history
The question of whether the island was built in the 1. or in 7. The question of whether the lagoon was inhabited in the sixteenth century is almost certainly answered by the discovery of a floor of a Roman villa, two meters below the water level: The 1. Century. The bishop of Altinum, an ancient city in the lagoon of Venice, lived here from 638 to 689 and worked successfully on its importance as a center for politics and trade.
In the 10. Century points 10.000 to 20.000 inhabitants with their wealth, which far exceeded that of the lagoon city. The heyday of the island lasted until the 12th century. Century to. Highlight from the 4. century was the cultivation of fruit, wine and cucumbers.
What you must see in Torcello
The first sight is dedicated to the artistic-historical importance: Santa Maria Assunta. The basilica was built from the year 1008 by the then bishop Orso Orseolo. An altar barrier was intended to separate the sanctuary from the common room. It is reminiscent in its design of ancient Christian choir screens, but lives on Greek Orthodox borrowings from the Middle Ages.
The development ended with a so-called Templon, a picture wall with representations of Mary (Madonna Hodegetria) and the 12 apostles, including Brother Peter, who carries a key and refers to the Book of Peter. Comparisons with the mosaics of San Marco come to mind, which are also the most valuable part of the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta.
Another church, Santa Fosca, is at the top of the visitor list. It is the place of burial of the relics of the eponymous martyr, which were brought to the island from the oasis of Sabrata in Libya before 1011. A tour of the Acardic Walk, laid out around the basilica, shows stilted arches, columns and hewn capitals. Already in 16. century the two churches mentioned were connected. The plan of the French government in 1811 to raze Santa Fosca to the ground by shelling was never carried out.
Murano, Burano& Torcello
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All these sights can also be seen on the classic island tours that include a stay in Torcello. At a cost of 20,00 € per person for the entire island tour, with stops on the three lagoon islands, you really experience a lot in a few hours.
Typical Italian history
The devil has also left his mark on the island of Torcello. The Devil’s Bridge – Ponte del Diavolo – takes visitors to the center of the lagoon island. The picturesque structure is located halay between the pier and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, where it connects the two banks of the canal.
The history of the bridge has a dark background. Once upon a time, it is said, the devil sat here on the night of Christmas Eve, transformed into a black cat, and wanted to take away the soul of a deceased child.
Whether it succeeded, however, is not handed down. Tourist guides recommend a walk along the lonely canal to let nature take effect on you. However, visitors must do without a securing railing when crossing the bridge.
Torcello – A world with a melancholic background
As small as the island may be, it has long been discovered by tourism. Not far from the hustle and bustle of Venice, its ancient and historical charm offers a great piece of relaxation and tranquility in the midst of nature during a stay on Torcello.
Nothing reminds of the fact that the island was once a lively center for more than 20.000 people, who turned their backs on Torcello due to malaria epidemics and increasing silting. Torcello is hardly known as the place of Venice’s vineyards.
✓ Tasty white wines from the Dorona grape are still pressed today, as well as well-known red wines from various other grape varieties. Chance would have it no other way.
The overall impression is decisive
Venice has a quiet and tranquil side. The same is true for Torcello. The island has preserved certain peculiarities and traditions, in the same line as its neighboring islands Burano and Mazzorbo. As a souvenir, bobbin lace is recommended, completed in filigree fine work, the colorful houses of Mazzorbo now fill entire photo archives around the world.
And the approximately 40-minute ride from Venice by water bus to the island of Torcello is in itself an experience with an entry into a bygone era, including some restaurants or osterias that are not spurned even by sophisticated residents of the lagoon city of Venice.
✓ Hotel Tip: Those who are looking for something very special decide for an overnight stay on Torcello in the Locanda Cipriani . This will not be cheap but nowhere is heaven on earth for free. Classic, old-fashioned, authentic, 5 rooms, double room from 300,00 € including breakfast. Otherwise Bed& Breakfast in the Casa Vacanze Ca’ Torcello.
"We like to come back!"
The island may be off the Tourist streams of Venice lie. But especially because of their proximity to the lagoon city, a visit is certainly worthwhile. The island is considered to be particularly calm and quiet, offers a lot of nature and thus enough variety for visitors who are interested in the ecclesiastical monuments dating from 11. Century look forward.
A splendid view over the small island awaits the guests from the Campanile, the tower of the famous cathedral. Torcello is an attraction for people from the film industry, for example, who like to stay on the island during the annual Venice Film Festival and indulge in typical Italian hospitality.
But also from "normal" visitors of the island is heard again and again: ‘We like to come back!‘