The Palazzo del Consiglio is a building of very ancient origins which has undergone numerous alterations over the centuries, all of which came to light during the restoration of the site in the 1870s. Not far from the building is the Palazzo dell'Archivio, while there was also once a third building called Palazzo Pretorio or del Podestà.

The building is of the 14th century in Gothic style and its name derives from its past use: the Great Council of Torcello used to meet in the building, which, depending  on the historical period, was composed of a minimum of 20 to a maximum of 40 members, all belonging to the Torcello nobility.

Elements preserved from the original building are: a granite column, a beautiful external staircase surmounted by a narrow canopy and an interesting belltower with a bell still visible on the roof, whose tolls - party from the council bodies - gathered citizens and arts companies in the square. In addition to the bell the turret once kept a clock of which there is no trace today, presumably due to its state of abandonment. The building has a ground floor and a first floor where there was a large canvas depicting the Lion of St. Mark until the 19th century, now disappeared and whose artist is still unknown. 

Due to its increasing deterioration, the building was downgraded to agricultural use and later bought by Count Luigi Torelli, Prefect of Venice, in 1870, with the aim of holding artifacts and art objects found on the island and in the nearby areas, both in the lagoon and on the mainland. Torelli financed the restoration work on the property, which was later donated to the Province of Venice in 1872 in order to build an exhibition area, and partitions were placed on the on the ground floor to better manage the exhibition space. The Provincial Museum was gradually enriched with new pieces and its management was first entrusted first to the Knight Nicolò Battaglini and then, from 1887, to Cesare Augusto Levi.

In 2015 the building was the subject of  further conservative restoration allowing it to recover its functionality: it was adapted to comply with current safety standards.

Today, the Palazzo del Consiglio is the home of the Medieval and Modern Section of the Torcello Museum which displays the evidence of the history of Torcello from the 6th to the 16th century, inaugurated - after the restoration works carried out by the Province - in 1974. Inside, you can admire the 13th century gilded silver tiles and inscriptions and fragments of mosaics from the 11th -12th centuries, sculptural fragments from the Byzantine to the Romanesque periods, Venetian ceramics and 15th century wooden sculptures, as well as some paintings from the Veronese workshop previously hung in churches that no longer exist.

The following deserve particular special mention among the various elements on display: the banner of the Confraternity of Santa Fosca di Torcello from 1336, embroidered on silk fabric with silver threads and the wooden work of the 16th century depicting Santa Fosca dead, one of the most interesting Venetian wooden sculptures.

Images gallery

The "lateral" facade with the entrance leading to the first floor and the small bell tower. — (Archivio Bazzmann/Venipedia)
A detail of the entrance on the first floor. — (Archivio Bazzmann/Venipedia)
A closer view of the complex. — (Archivio Bazzmann/Venipedia)
View of the square, the Palazzo del Consiglio on the left, the Throne of Attila in the center and the Palazzo dell'Archivio on the right. — (Archivio Bazzmann/Venipedia)
The Throne of Attila, in front of the palace. — (Archivio Bazzmann/Venipedia)
View of the entrance on the ground floor. — (Archivio Bazzmann/Venipedia)
Perspective view from the entrance on the ground floor. — (Archivio Bazzmann/Venipedia)

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