He was one of the oldest and most prosperous settlements in the lagoon, until decline resulting from the predominance of nearby Venice and to changing environmental conditions. Currently the island counts just fifteen residents, but the priceless archaeological heritage which still preserves makes it a popular tourist spot.
Archaeological campaigns conducted in the early 1960 showed that to Torcello was a settlement since the early centuries of the Roman Empire, around the same time that flourished in the nearby town of Altino.
The island formed, along with nearby Mazzorbo, Burano, Ammiana and Costanziaco, the bridgehead of Venetian trade towards the Adriatic Sea and thriving, you have thousands of inhabitants. In the 11th century was rebuilt the Cathedral, flanked by the new Church of Santa Fosca, and until the 14th century Torcello was the main center of processing of wool in the Duchy of Venice.
The city had its own nobility and was ruled by two Councils, one major and one minor, first gastald affiancanti ducale and the podest� .
Starting from the 15th century, though, the proximity to the city of Venice, the unhealthy air as a result of chiopris belonged to this area of the lagoon and the continuing plague (14th century ones and harsh del Cinquecento), resulted in a gradual decline of the island; in 1429 the doge Francesco Foscari, was forced to order to the podest� of Torcello to end the continued pillaging of marble and stone, which they dedicated the inhabitants of Venice and Murano in his hometown. As A result of the decline, the buildings were in ruins or were dismantled to provide bricks and building material for development and Despite the disappearance of the city, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Torcello, although moved to Murano, survived until suppression of 1818. At the same time, the Cathedral became a simple parish, with jurisdiction over various places in the North lagoon.
In 1822, during a pastoral visit, the Patriarch John Ladislaus Pyrker found the State of extreme decay, subjected to unhealthy air and widespread poverty, involving even the local clergy. At that time the population was 80 units (“all winemakers”), passed then, according to the pastoral visit of Jacopo Monico of 1829, to 120 units. The inhabitants declined progressively during the 20th century (why the parish was abolished in 1986) and currently lives on the island just 20 people.