Torcello Island

TORCELLO ISLAND

  • ico LOCATION: Isola di torcello

This island of Torcello used to be a flourishing centre and is the place from where the Venetian civilization originated (it is here that the inhabitants of Altino took refuge to escape the barbarian invasions), but only the monumental centre has, miraculously, survived. From the landing jetty, you can reach it through a street along which there are only few houses and some restaurants, besides the characteristic Ponte del diavolo, with no parapet.

You will thus reach a vast grassy area where, around the so called Throne of Attila (a stone chair probably used by tribunes when administering justice), gather St. Fosca, the cathedral, the Palazzo dell’archivio and the Palazzo del Consiglio. The church of St. Fosca in Torcello Island, with its typical round plan, features an impressive shapeliness, both inside and outside, but the main monument of the island is undoubtedly the cathedral of S. Maria Assunta. It was founded in 639 and rebuilt in the year 1000. It is a simple church with a basilical plan and a simple façade preceded by a narthex, the vestibule leaning on the façade typical of early Christian churches.

On the lawn behind the church is the Cappella di S. Marco where, according to tradition, the Evangelist’s body was kept for some time at the end of the journey from the Holy Land. Inside, note on the façade wall the wonderful Venetian-Byzantine mosaic  depicting the Last Judgment. From the bottom upwards (not in a chronological order) note on the first stripe the Elect on the left and the Damned on the right; on the higher section The Preparation of the Last Judgement with Scenes of the Resurrection of the Bodies; Christ in Glory with the Virgin Mary and the Saints and, finally, Crucified Christ between his Mother and St. John.