Torcello Experience Part One


Torcello, once powerful commercial and political centre and first nucleus of the yet-to-be Venetian Republic, is a small island located at the far north of the lagoon. Today, it counts less than 10 inhabitants and, if we exclude the warmer hours of the warmer months, when curious visitors from all over the planet stop by for a quick visit, the place is almost deserted. An isle of wilderness, peace and silence.

I wanted to catch the best light, so I left the house before dawn. I took the vaporetto from F.ta Nove (linea 12, see timetable here) at 5:40 a.m. At that hour of the day, the boat doesn't automatically stop in Torcello, it is necessary to book the service simply telephoning the free number 800 845 065 at least 20 minutes earlier, so I did. Already at the end of Calle del Fumo, I could see the pink and purple hues of the sky, the colours that appear only for a couple of minutes before the actual dawn takes over. How beautiful. Both San Michele, our local cemetery, and Murano, the island of glass, seemed painted in watercolour-like tones ....

Venice Day Trip | San Michele island
Venice Day Trip
Venice Day Trip | Murano

Then, once passed Murano, the hues changed completely, turning into intense orange and yellow. Dawn had arrived and witnessing such a marvel was simply breathtaking. The landscape kept changing and the image of what we call barene (strips of land that get submerged with the high tide) and of the high grass can be definitely defined romantic.

Venice Day Trips | Venezia
Venice Day Trips | Venezia
Venice Day Trip | Torcello

I arrived on Torcello at a quarter past six. There was no one. A boat slowly passed through the canal and the two pensioners greeted me with a warm smile and a sincere 'Buongiorno signorina' (even if I'm a 'signora' now...). There was no one around and I had an appointment at 7. I had gone so early exactly to take pictures, so I stopped for a moment in front of the famous Ponte del Diavolo, one of the few original bridges with no railings left in Venice and then, instead that going straight to the piazza, I crossed the following bridge, which led me into the fields.

At the foot of the bridge, immediately on the right, there is a capital with a beautiful Madonna and it touched me to see that there is someone that still brings her flowers and occasionally lights candles. All around, pure countryside. Trees, flowers, birds and crops. From March to September, you can even see the flamingos, but this year they left together with the cold wind Burian. The houses are an absolute dream, elegant villas with wonderfully kept front and back gardens and flower beds. If it weren't for the expensive prices of the properties, I confess I wouldn't mind this sort of lifestyle.

Torcello (Venice)
Torcello (Venice)

Wandering around the fields, I could see lots of artichoke plants and a tractor at distance.

Following the path, I arrived at the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, symbol of the birth of Venice and known especially for its golden mosaics. I had visited the church a couple of weeks before and the images of hell and paradise, of the skulls and the burning bodies of the damned were still vivid in my memory, not to mention the brightness of the Virgin and Child in the main apse. If you decide to go to Torcello, please do take the time to visit this little jewel, it will be definitely worth your time. The cathedral is annexed to a smaller church entitled after Santa Fosca, virgin and martyr whose relics had been transported by a christian called Vitale, from Sabratha (in Libya) to Torcello in 1011. Quite a few Venetians choose this peaceful place to celebrate their wedding and although small and simpler if compared to its next door neighbour, it has a unique atmosphere of purity and sincerity.

In the square you will see ancient remains, among which the most known are the baptismal font and the so-called throne of Attila. Just in front of the cathedral, a house covered with ivy, with lovely statues along the walls of the side corridor and in the garden. On the right, a vineyard. Follow the vineyard and stop for a moment in front of the field, almost empty if it weren't for the well and the trees, and arrive as far as the canal. From there you will be able to get a different perspective of the island.

Church of Santa Fosca | Torcello (Venice)
Torcello (Venice)
Torcello (Venice)