Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta

sights / Religious

Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta information

Venice , Italy
Address
Street Piazza Torcello
Getting there
ferry Torcello
Prices
adult/reduced €5/4, incl museum €8/6
Opening hours
10.30am-6pm Mar-Oct, 10am-5pm Nov-Feb
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Lonely Planet review

Don't let its restrained exteriors and advanced age fool you: this Byzantine cathedral built in 639 and rebuilt around 1008 is bursting with colourful stories in interior mosaics. The soaring bell tower offers commanding lagoon views, but is currently undergoing restoration. Last entry is half an hour before closing.

Mosaics

A beatific Madonna rises above corn poppies in the golden eastern apse mosaic, while on the western wall a mosaic Last Judgment shows the Adriatic as a sea nymph ushering souls lost at sea towards St Peter, who's jangling the keys to Paradise like God's own bouncer. A sneaky devil tips the scales of justice, while his minions drag sinners into a hell populated with bloated gluttons, greedy bejewelled merchants, and envious cadavers with snakes coming out of their eyes. In the centre, Jesus offers reassuring words: 'I am God and Man; I am not far from the guilty, but close to the repentant.'