It was one of the first islands of the Venetian lagoon to be inhabited by the populations of Altino who escaped from the barbarian invasions, from the 5th to the 9th century it became an important urban center with churches, monasteries, a flourishing wool industry, salt production and a proper government and a high level of social and artistic life.

The swamping of the surrounding lagoon and the need for a safer refuge led the inhabitants of the island to leave Torcello to take refuge in Rivoaltum (todays Rialto Bridge area), which had become the capital of the ducal seat.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Torcello is the oldest building in the lagoon: founded in 639, it is a splendid example of Venetian-Byzantine style. Particular interesting the portico and the façade with the marbles and the splendid mosaics inside.


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