TORCELLO BASILICA AND MUSEUM
Book now the Torcello Basilica entrance fee and the tour to discover the innermost secrets of the ancient cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Venice.
Visiting Torcello in Venice is an adventure, a fascinating journey through time among century old traditions, mysteries as well as priceless historic and artistic treasures…
Buy now online your visits to Torcello Venice Italy: the Basilica of Torcello, the Museum of Torcello and the useful audioguide!
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The Basilica di Torcello and the nearby Church of Santa Fosca are the last remaining examples of the ancient Torcello church in Venice, precious witnesses of the glorious past of the island which, before the advent of Venice, was the main point of reference in the Venetian lagoon.
Symbol of faith and history on an island where nature plays an important role, the Torcello Basilica in Venice will show you the more intimate side of Venice and in some ways its ‘beginning’.
Built in 639 as a result of the transfer of the Episcopal seat of Altino, the Torcello Cathedral in Venice was enlarged in 1008 and dedicated to Mary, Mother of God, epithet from which the name of Santa Maria Assunta is derived.
The majesty of this basilica, in which everything seems shaped to create a perfect marriage between art and spirituality is reflected in every detail, from the way the light wraps around the interior and the beautiful columns that divide the space into three naves to the brightness of the marble. Even the floor, composed of multicoloured tiles that make up a game of precious diamonds, wheels, petals and intricate geometric intersections, seems like a fine rug laid in honour of the solemnity and sacredness of this church dedicated to Mary. When entering this majestic church you will be welcomed by the Virgin, immortalized in an extraordinary thirteenth-century mosaic with a gold background that covers the entire central apse of the basilica.
It is by the beautiful mosaics that adorn the interior of the basilica that the profound message of faith left by the artists who decorated the ancient cathedral will come to you in all its intensity. Inside, the Basilica di Torcello contains one of the most important mosaic cycles in northern Italy, a veritable treasure trove of Torcello Byzantine church art that has spanned the centuries so that we can admire it in all its immense splendour. Among the mosaics stands the large representation of the Last Judgement: an exciting visual narrative, in different levels from top to bottom, which calls for a profound meditation on life after death. Located on the counter-façade of the basilica, this mosaic catches your eye and touches your soul.
But the mosaics are not the only valuable Byzantine art that remain ... The whole structure of Torcello’s cathedral in Venice reveals an unbreakable bond with the Eastern Church, from the presence of a valuable iconostasis, which divides and separates the sanctuary from the rest of the church. You can get in touch with the fascinating Byzantine culture admiring the images of the iconostasis, with the apostles and the Virgin and Child, and the marble banisters that enrich the bottom of the structure with fine representations of Biblical animals, before raising your eyes to the great fifteenth-century wooden crucifix above the structure.
Once home to the palace of the island council, today the Torcello Museum houses a precious collection of antiquities and archaeological findings, found for the most part in the local area, thus representing testimony of the historic importance of this place. Thanks to its additional private collections and generous donations, the Torcello Museum is today an interesting and exciting excursion into some of the most influential civilizations in history.
There are therefore two sections, a medieval and modern one and an archaeological one. The first houses early Christian and high medieval findings, almost certainly from Torcello and the islands around it, whilst the second (laid out in the Archives palace in 1990) houses findings found in the Venetian area, the lagoon, and material from different places, such as a set of small Egyptian statues, covering a period from the Palaeolithic to the late Roman age.
During your visit of the Torcello Museum you will be able to admire splendid findings of Romanic epoch, mosaic fragments originating from Ravenna, the 16th century S. Fosca sarcophagus and its medieval wooden sculpture, a reconstruction, made with salvaged panels, of the 13th century gold and silver altar pall that used to be housed inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta and a multitude of very old pieces originating from many different epochs and cultures.
One must bear in mind that the island of Torcello, in the beginning the place of the holidays of the Roman aristocracy, was up to the 15th century a flourishing trade and commerce centre and had, at one point, a population of 20.000 inhabitants. The museum is located in a very suggestive position, only a small lawn separates it from the Basilica and the Church of Santa Fosca, and is fronted by what is generally called the Attila’s throne, which, in all certainty, was the seat used by the island’s officials. In such an evocative setting, not only will a visit of the Torcello Museum be a learning opportunity but, above all, also an experience for your inner soul.
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