Torcello is often considered the precursor of Venice. Settled between the fifth and seventh centuries, it became the most prosperous of the early lagoon communities with its own nobility, laws, palaces, churches, shipyards and docks. The growth of Venice hastened its demise and its current population is now about 100 people. It is probably most famous today for the Locanda Cipriani, one of the most prestigious gastronomic institutions of the Veneto. San Giovanni, built towards the end of the seventeenth century, is the only villa on Torcello and is surrounded by an enormous garden.
The property takes its name from the Romanesque church of San Giovanni some of whose ruins have been restored by the International Save Venice Fund and which can still be admired in the garden. The villa was completely restored a few years ago and it is beautifully furnished with antiques. The swimming pool is on a small hill overlooking the garden. From Torcello it is possible to visit [either by vaporetto or by water taxi] the islands of the Venetian lagoon, including Burano [famous for its lace] and Murano [famous for its glass]. The center of Venice can also be easily reached, as the vaporetto stop is only a five-minute walk from the villa.
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