During those times the isle was an important trade centre, there were more than 20.000 inhabitants mostly working the wool.
Its decline begun with the change of climatic conditions: parts of the lagoon around Torcello was grounded by rivers Piave and Sile causing malaria, the slow exodus of the inhabitants to the richer Venice begun. Most of the buildings were dismantled and moved on richer places, the isle now is totally sanitized but no much left of the antique splendour.
Torcello is situated on the northern side of the Venetian lagoon, nearby the isle of Burano , a place of shallow waters. The isle proudly counts on an inestimable archaeological patrimony (from the Romans Era) and it is populated only by circa 20 islanders. It is goal of visitors form all over the world.
The Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral is the oldest church of the Venetian lagoon, the current shape is dated year 1000 (approx.). On the inside there is an enormous mosaic representing the Judgment day and another peculiarity of the church are the windows shutters, all stone made !!!.
Inestimable is also the Church of Santa Fosca, its plan is a Greek Cross. This sort of construction is quite rare and influenced by byzantine art that characterized the Venetian buildings between the IX and XII century due to the massive business with the not so far orient.
Two characterizing operas are the Attilas’ Throne (probably a seat for the island law administrators during those times) an the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil‘s Bridge) characterized by the missing parapet as all Venetian bridges of that era.
The isle is easily reachable by public boat service from the close Burano, it very nice to visit especially during spring and summer times because immersed in the Venetian lagoon far from the crowded confusion of Venice. On the isle lived part of his live the writer Ernest Hemingway.