Torcello, 30142 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy
Torcello and the Cathedral of Santa Maria AssuntaThe sleepy island of Torcello is at the northern end of the Venetian lagoon and an easy ferry ride from Venice via neighboring island Burano. Spending a day island hopping from Murano to Burano to Torcello is a welcome escape from the overly crowded areas that can sometimes spoil an otherwise beautiful city. The most popular sight on Torcello is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, where ornate Byzantine mosaic artwork dating back to the 12th century can be viewed. For a more laid-back adventure, take a gentle hike on the cathedral grounds to snap photos of crumbling statuary, ancient escutcheons, figures of St. Mark's winged lion, and panoramic views of the Venetian lagoon. Wildlife abounds here—particularly waterbirds—and visitors can count on peace and quiet on this sparsely populated island. You won't be pestered by beggars, vendors, or hordes of tourists on Torcello. To get there from Venice, you can book an organized tour with a private company, or, first take the "N" vaporetto from Venice's northern shore to Burano. Connect to Torcello from Burano via the "T" vaporetto, a very short ride. Watch carefully as you embark on the ferries; it's all too easy to get on the wrong one!