Torcello island Venice

Nowadays, the island of Torcello is part of Venice, but it was once an important town in its own right, mainly thanks to its wool processing industry. The main attraction is the ancient cathedral, with its baptistery and the Santa Fosca Martyrium.

Torcello island Venice

History and description

Torcello Venice
The island of Torcello with the bell tower of the Cathedral.

The original name of Torcello was Dorceum or Turricellum. In the heyday of this settlement, tens of thousands of people used to lived on the island. In the early Middle Ages it was an important port, with three canals leading to the sea. The main industries were metal, glass and wool processing. The importance of the city is also indicated by the fact that it was a bishop’s seat from the 7th to the 17th centuries.

In 1272, an ordinance was even issued indicating that wool-working was exclusively assigned to the island.

As late as in 1795, there were still over 700 mansions on the island, which was then as many as there were in Venice itself. This is despite the fact that decay had already set in slowly in the 15th century. This was mainly due to natural changes on the island. The harbors silted up and the island became more marshy, leading to a major problem with malaria.

Of the many churches that once existed on the island, almost nothing remains and very few people live on the island.

Tourist attractions

Torcello’s biggest tourist attraction is the Cathedral, which, together with the Baptistry and the Santa Fosca Martyrium, consists of a large complex.

The Ponte del Diavolo (“Devil’s Bridge”) is one of only two bridges in Venice without a railing.

Public transport

The island can be reached by line 12 and line N (night service).

Torcello island, Venice

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