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Torcello is some times called a cradle of Venice. The history of the island begain in the 5th century then after the downfall of the Roman Empire, Torcello was one of the first lagoon islands to be successively populated by those who fled the terra ferma (mainland) to take shelter from the recurring barbarian troops headed by Atilla. It is considered to be the birth place of Venice. Since most of it first in habitants later moved to Riva Alto (Future Rialto).

Today’s main attraction is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, founded in 639 and with much 11th and 12th century Byzantine work, including mosaics (e.g. a vivid version of the Last Judgement), surviving. Other attractions include the 11th and 12th century Church of Santa Fosca, which is surrounded by a porticus in the form of a Greek cross, and the Museo Provinciale di Torcello housed in two fourteenth century palaces, the Palazzo dell’Archivio and the Palazzo del Consiglio, which was once the seat of the communal government. Another noteworthy sight for tourists is an ancient stone chair, known as Attila’s Throne. It has, however, nothing to do with the king of the Huns, but it was most likely the podestà’s or the bishop’s chair. Torcello is also home to a Devil’s Bridge, known as the Ponte del Diavolo or alternatively the Ponticello del Diavolo (devil’s little bridge).

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