It was once one of the most important islands in the Venetian Lagoon, being an overly populated spot that had over 20,000 residents.
Although it may be surprising to hear, this small island was once known as ‘the mother of Venice’, but after a brutal outbreak of malaria as well as a decline in the town’s canals, the island’s power and population declined dramatically, erasing the island’s once-grand status.
Where is Torcello
Torcello is nestled in the Northern Venetian lagoon, nearby to the Island of Burano, renowned for being the master in lacework. These days, Torcello is sparsely populated, with its sandy and swampy shores abundant in wildlife rather than people. It is a rural scenery, with ancient buildings remaining throughout the town. Offering guests, a chance to step back in time and discover the history of this once imposing region.
The History of Torcello
Torcello was founded in the 5th century, making the island even older than Venice. Its success was mainly due to its prime location. Nearby marshes that were a source of salt, which was a valuable commodity at the time. As well as being along the Adriatic Sea, Torcello was the perfect place for trading, known for its continued trading relationship with the eastern Byzantine Roman Empire. Torcello’s canals were another key reason for its success, and yet it is also the reason for the decline of the island in power. The canals began to silt up due to the residue of mainland rivers flowing into the lagoon region. Making the canals unable to accommodate any boats no matter the size. Leading to the shift in trading to head to Venice instead. The outbreak in malaria also caused Torcello’s status and population to diminish, with many of the successful individuals living within perishing from the disease.
Unfortunately, many of the ancient buildings of Torcello were plundered for building material back when the island lost its power. But what remains is still worth the visit, with spectacular palaces, churches, and monasteries all dotting the island.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
It is the oldest building in all of Venetian Lagoon, founded way back in 639. The interior of the building is astonishing, with unforgettable mosaics that were created in the 12th and 13th century. The building is also great for a lookout point, with many visitors climbing the bell tower to take a snap of the entire island.
The Casa Museo Andrich
Home to more than 1000 artworks, this museum is by far one of Torcello’s greatest highlights. Attach is an educational farm and garden, letting you stroll through the soft grass and marvel at the sheer beauty of the island. Flamingos from March through September. It can be visited on a guided tour.
Explore Our Venice Tours
Afternoon Venice Islands To Murano, Burano & Torcello Tour
Discover the enchanting islands of Murano, Burano & Torcello with the afternoon boat tour.
Afternoon Venice Gondola Tour
Soak up stunning views of Venice while enjoying a ride in the comfort of a gondola.
Morning Venice Islands To Murano, Burano & Torcello Tour
Visit the fascinating islands of Venice and soak in the picturesque views of colourful buildings.