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The Oratory and the Campanile

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Behind the Torcello cathedral is the small Oratory of San Marco Evangelista, built on the site where St. Mark rested on his way to Venice (or more accurately, where the guys who stole his body rested?). Legend has it that the merchants who rescued/stole the saint from his grave in Egypt were both Torcello citizens; perhaps they stopped by their home on their way to deliver the prized body to the Doge.

In December 2008, the oratory was behind a construction fence so I couldn’t get close enough to really check it out. It’s a cute little place though, and there are some intriguing ruins around it that I couldn’t get close to either.

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John Ruskin said that the view from the 12th century campanile (bell tower) is “one of the most notable scenes in this wide world of ours.” You can see the wide expanse of the lagoon and the bell towers of the Venice skyline in the distance.

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In December 2008, the Torcello campanile was closed for restoration so I wasn’t able to see the "notable scene." I was able to climb it in October 2003 and would love to go up there again now that I know more about what I’m seeing. It’s on my list for my next trip, for sure, whenever that is. It feels so weird to not be going to Venice this December!

It’s a tower that you actually climb (no elevator) but it’s not that hard since you climb on circling ramps rather than stairs. And the views are pretty awesome (I wish I had some digital photos!). It was the first time I really understood what the ancient Venetians had to work with, in terms of the landscape of the lagoon, because you can see undeveloped mudflats surrounded by little rivers of water that later became the famous canals.

When you visit Torcello, you can buy a cumulative ticket that includes the cathedral, climbing the campanile, and the museum, or you can buy each separately.

A view of the tower without scaffolding~

Venezia%20Torcello.jpeg

I think I've got two more Torcello posts to do and then I'll go back to the shrines and churches of Venice itself. Thanks so much for all the comments!

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Comments (8)

sheri:

Great photos,Annie. I hope that you get back there soon to climb that tower!

Anne:

Love the Oratory, too bad you weren't able to go in. I wonder what the interior looks like. I get such a kick out of the story of St. Mark - didn't they hide it in a barrel of pork or something like that?

And I'll definitely add that tower to my list of "must climbs"! :)

sandrac:

Annie, I can only imagine how beautiful the views must be from the campanile! (And circling ramps sound much easier on the knees than stairs; particularly going down!)

The museum website is interesting -- there's a great aerial photo of Torcello that makes it look really lush and green!

I can only imagine the view from up there. I love your photos!

Ooooh, another tower to put on my list! :)

Marie:

Annie,
You have a knack of finding all kinds of corners on Torcello. The oratory? I'd never heard of it, let alone seen it. Your postings will act as a guide for the rest of us.
Best,
Marie

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, this is a wonderful post. I didn't notice the Oratory during my visit there and it is great to learn about it from you. You took some wonderful photos. That's a cool one with the Tower's reflection in the water.

I am looking forward to your next entry on this wonderful island. Thanks so much Annie! Hope you are having a nice evening.

What a delight to read about this article of yours! I hope they are not forsaken. I hope I could write some essays about my personal encounters with churches.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 1, 2009 2:08 PM.

The previous post in this blog was The Stones of Torcello.

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