• Ankitha Prakash

The Venetian Lagoon: Torcello, Italy, 2016

📍 The Island of Torcello

Torcello was a short journey from Murano and our guide kept us well informed during our journey. We arrived at Torcello and the island felt so peaceful to me. Do not miss out on this island as this is where the habitation of the Venetian lagoon began.

The deserted look of the island is a contrast to its history since Torcello was the home to more than 20000 inhabitants, a number of palaces and monasteries. The Santa Maria Assunta was the first cathedral of Venice. It dates from the 7th century and was built in Veneto-Byzantine style. The Byzantine mosaics, which are the earliest remaining mosaics in the Veneto region, are the most remarkable part of the cathedral. On the main apse, you can see an enormous golden mosaic from the 11th century, which shows Virgin Hodegetria.

Around the Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta

Before reaching the cathedral you come across The Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge) which is one of the few bridges in Venice without a rail.

There are several legends related to it, but I prefer this version related to Christmas Eve. During the Austrian occupation, a Venetian girl fell in love with one of the Austrian soldiers. Her family didn’t agree with the relationship and soon her lover was murdered. The girl was devastated and turned to a witch to make a pact with the devil. He promised to revive the boy in return for the soul of a dead child on Christmas Eve for the next seven years. When she arrived at the bridge, the devil and the boy were waiting on the other side. The girl crossed the bridge and ran away with her lover. The witch, who was in charge of the payment, died in a fire immediately after this pact. Since then, every year on Christmas Eve, the devil waits for the souls of the children at the Ponte del Diavolo, disguised as a giant black cat.

The whole island has that typical antique look and you almost feel isolated as you continue staring at it!

The next stop was to the Island of Burano (next blog under the travel section).