When you get to Torcello, the first thing you see is a shrine to Madonna right there at the vaporetto landing. In the distance, you see the campanile of the cathedral. Turn around to see how vast and lonely and beautiful the lagoon looks.
To get to the piazza and the churches, you walk about a third of a mile along the main canal. The modern brick sidewalk you walk on is a bit controversial (more about that later). You don’t have to walk very far before you begin to see cats. Lots of cats! The Torcello cat colonies are what I expected to see when I first went to Venice but didn’t. There are cats in the gardens, cats hanging out with the young girls working at the souvenir kiosk, cats lounging around the piazza, cats on the rooftops of houses, even cats inside the cathedral!
Cats galore are scattered all over the island and have little houses supplied by the Venetian cat rescue organization, Dingo, which also takes care of the condo full of cats on the porch of the church of San Lorenzo back in Venice and runs a large cat sanctuary on the Lido.
The Torcello cats seem to be healthy and well-fed, and some of them are very friendly. The girls at the kiosk were calling them by name and seemed to be amused that I was taking so many photos of the cats.
This crowd was taking turns jumping up into the wheel barrow and getting something to eat out of one of those plastic bags. They were behind a gate so I couldn't get closer to see what was for dinner.
Needless to say, this cat lover was in heaven but there's lots more to see on Torcello besides the cats. More to come….