At sunset, when the last water bus leaves, silence returns. The sun gives everything a red tinge, a warm light tempered by the humidity – as if the air had become solid. The cathedral is even more beautiful at this time of day, the bell tower looking out over the whole of Torcello, my favourite island in the Venetian Lagoon. Intimate, quiet, romantic.
A new instalment in our journey through my island memories – all Italian.
Aside from Venice, which is always magical and incredible every time you set foot there, the entire Lagoon merits further investigation. This whole thing of canals instead of roads and boats instead of cars still surprises me; it’s like suddenly being catapulted into a dreamlike dimension...
I have some friends with a small “gozzo” boat who have taken me for a joyride around the Lagoon several times – it’s also a great option for taking a dip on baking hot days! That’s right: I’ve swum in the Lagoon! Careful, though: don’t start picturing the Grand Canal or the waterways within Venice, but half-hidden nooks sheltered from water bus and motorboats. The bottom is shallow and the water is salty: not bad, actually.
But let’s get back to where we started... Torcello is home to a few houses and a beautiful cathedral, austere and simple with its clean lines – it actually dates back to the 6th century!
After all, this was the first island in the Lagoon to be inhabited, even before Venice: it’s all the “fault” of the barbarian invasions that threatened the mainland. Choosing to live out in the middle of the water proved effective as a defensive ploy...
I spent a couple of days in Torcello one June many years ago. I remember vegetable patches and gardens and, of course, canals perfect for lazy strolls, especially at sunset – an unforgettable golden hour. Do you know what they call the water-lined streets here? They’re known as fondamenta, or foundations. We’ve already talked about Venice’s unusual place names – I wonder if you were already subscribed to this newsletter then?
And then I remember the silence – I was young, and it was probably one of the first times I appreciated stillness. Perhaps you too have experienced that transition to adulthood where silence moves from being desolate to enjoyable. Or maybe you’re still young, and the idea of silence makes you sad... well, don’t worry: Torcello is beautiful at all ages. ;)
Once again, I’ve got lost in reflections that have very little to do with this small island north of Venice, where you can also stay the night, soaking up all the languorous and somewhat decadent charm of this magical place.
Lots of love, have a great Sunday! ❤️