Torcello island

isola di torcello

Torcello island

The island of Torcello is located in the north-east corner of the Venetian lagoon, and is only 10 km away from Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) . As of today, the island is mainly made up of vegetable gardens and is inhabited only by a few dozen people, while 1500 years ago it was the center of the entire Venetian civilization: during the year 638, the Roman Catholic bishop of Altino, which was back then the main Roman city of that area, moved to Torcello together with many other people from Altino because of the pressure caused by the invasion of the barbarian hordes, thus creating the first large lagoon establishment.

Torcello had its greatest civilization development between the VII and X centuries, reaching a population of 20000 inhabitants, thanks to his flourishing business. Over the following centuries, it gradually and inexorably lost its importance, with all the main productive activities now moved in Venice. Only a few of the many monuments that once crowded the island, like churches and monasteries, have survived nowadays.

200Among these there is the extraordinary monumental building of the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral (founded in 639) , with its internal Byzantine-Romanesque mosaics, dated back to the XI and XII centuries, and its bell tower of the XI century, which dominates the view across the lagoon, and the church of Santa Fosca (dated back to the XI century too) surrounded by a five sided Greek cross portico.

In front of the churches there are the fourteenth-century Palace of the Archive and the Council building, formerly the headquarters of the local government delegated by the doge and currently home to a small but valuable museum. But Torcello is not only a splendid illustration of the birth of the Venetian civilization: it is first and foremost an island immersed in the fascinating world that is the Venetian lagoon.

It is in this charming and unique world that the Locanda Cipriani is located since 1935, by the side of the monumental complex of the churches of St. Maria Assunta and St. Fosca. To reach Torcello from Venice you can find, in addition to private water taxis, regular and frequent lagoon navigation services of ACTV, departing both from the landing of the Ponte della Paglia (San Marco) and from the landing of Fondamente Nove. The ACTV navigation services also allow you to easily reach Torcello from the picturesque island of Burano, the famous island of Murano, the Lido of Venice and the coast of Cavallino-Treporti.

“Besides the marshes (…) and the reeds bent by the violent north wind, I saw the square tower of the Church of Torcello and the high bell tower of Burano behind it”
(E. Hemingway “Across the River and into the Trees”)

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