Torcello is an island located north of the Venetian Lagoon. It is considered the region of Venice continuously inhabited the longest.
The main attraction of the island is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, founded in 639 and with many Byzantine works from the 11th and 12th centuries, including mosaics.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Torcello was one of the first islands of the lagoon to be successively populated by those who fled from the city of Veneti on mainland, to shelter from the recurrent barbarian invasions, especially after Attila the Hun, destroyed the town of Altino and all settlements around 452. Although the Veneto region formally belonged to the Byzantine exarch of Ravenna since the end of the Gothic War remained unsafe because of frequent German invasions and wars: For the next 200 years the Lombards and Franks fed a permanent stream of sophisticated urban refugees to the island’s relative security, including the bishop of Altino. In 638 Torcello became officially the bishopric for more than a thousand years, and the people of Altino brought with them the relics of St. Heliodorus, now the patron saint of the island.