Venice for Visitors logo
Home Hotels, Rentals
Main Index Transportation

Arrow Have Venice & Italy reopened?

Venice Islands Tour

Page 6
Continued from Page 5


ABOVE: Looking down on the 12th Century Church of Santa Fosca from the bell tower. INSET BELOW: Torcello's skyline as seen from Burano; channels in the island's tidal flats. (The name "Torcello" means "Tower and Sky.")


There was a time, nearly 1,500 years ago, when Torcello was the largest and most important settlement in the Venetian Lagoon. Those days are long gone: As silt from rivers on the mainland filled up the shallow waters around Torcello, trade became more difficult and malarial mosquitoes bred. The 20,000 or so inhabitants gradually made their way to Venice, and today only a few dozen innkeepers, farmers, and other hardy souls live on the largely abandoned island.

Torcello photoStill, it's obvious even from the Burano waterfront that Torcello is worth a visit: A magnificent Byzantine-Italian cathedral dating back to 639 A.D., the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, looms over the island with the Bell Tower and Church of Santa Fosca alongside.

Allow 45 minutes or an hour to visit the religious buildings around the central piazza, which is a short walk along a canal from the ACTV pier. Tickets are sold individually for the Basilica, the Bell Tower, and the small Archaeological Museum, but the best deal is a combination ticket that includes all three plus the use of an audioguide in the Basilica (still called the "Cathedral" by many, and still in use for weddings and religious festivals).

Torcello tidal flatsDon't let claustrophobia or a fear of steep stairs keep you from ascending the Bell Tower: The climb is easy, via a series of gentle well-lit ramps, and from the top you'll get a fine view of the church buildings, the island, and the Lagoon.

If your exertions leave you hungry or thirsty, head for one of the indoor-outdoor restaurants around the piazza or along the path to the boat dock. (A kiosk also sells bottled drinks and other refreshments.)

How to reach Torcello:

You can reach Torcello directly from Venice on the No. 12 water bus, which also serves Murano, Burano, and other major points in the northern Lagoon. Most, but not all, No. 12 boats go from Burano to Torcello and back during the journey from Venice to Punta Sabbioni. (You can check the timetable at Fondamente Nove, the departure point in Venice, before boarding.)

From about 7 to 9 a.m., a small No. 9 boat often provides morning commuter service between Burano and Torcello, depending on the season.

Next page: Return-trip options

In this article:
Venice Islands Tour
San Michele Cemetery
Return-trip options
Lido di Venezia
Lido to Venice
Related articles

Plan your Venice trip:
arrow Introducing Venice
arrow Hotels, B&B, Apartments
arrow Acqua Alta (Flooding)
arrow Transportation
arrow Sightseeing
arrow Venice Q&A
arrow Top 11 Tourist Mistakes
arrow Top 11 Free Sights
arrow Venice Cruise Port