A Day at Torchello

July 23, 2007 at 6:31 am

Still writing up the last few posts about the trip to Italy. I put the pictures from this day in the gallery.

On our last day in Venice, we decided to explore some of the outlaying islands in the Venetian lagoon. Our goal for the day was the Byzantine-styled cathedral on the little northern island of Torchello. Check out the adventure map to see where we were in relation to Venice.

It took us a little less than 2 hours on water taxis to circle around to the north side of island of Venice, ride out across the lagoon to the far northern island of Burano, and then shuttle across to the landing on Torchello. The island was once a bustling town, with the seat of the local Bishopric in the cathedral and church on the island. But most of the canals became silted in, the population of Venice exploded, and malaria took its toll, leaving the island with only 60 residents today.

The quiet country-side setting for the old church was a welcome change for Mark and I. After a week in the loud, crowded streets of Rome and Venice, to be able to lay in green grass under a bright sun was just wonderful. The only sounds were a distant local bar open for lunch, the cries of sea gulls and frogs in the lagoon, and the lapping of shallow waves all around us.

The church itself was fantastic. As the oldest church in the Venetian area, it was wonderful to wander through the ancient buildings, looking at art and relics from the days of the early Christian church. The walls of the cathedral were covered not with renaissance frescoes, or elaborate baroque sculptures, but in beautiful Byzantine mosaics. The largest wall of the cathedral was covered in a huge mosaic telling the story of Revolations, the end of the world, and the travels of the sinful into Hell. It was elaborate and amazing. And I wasn’t allowed to take pictures. I have post-cards though, I hope to be able to scan them in and post them here eventually.

After checking out the church and cathedral, we climbed the stairs of the local bell tower (campanile). The views were great, you could see Venice on the very distant horizon, but mostly you saw gardens, houses, lagoons and quiet sea-side islands.

It was a really nice day, great to get out on boats, to get out of the city, and to see such old and beautiful buildings and artifacts. The next day we traveled back to Rome, spent the night at a nice hotel near the airport, and then put Mark on a airplane to head back to the States. I was ready to begin my trip to the conference in Perugia.