Disembarking from the vaporetto and traveling along the only access road to the island of Torcello, the Devil's Bridge can be found on the right, before reaching the historical area where you can admire the Provincial Museum of Torcello and the Churches of Santa Maria Assunta and Santa Fosca.
The exact historical moment in which the bridge was erected remained unclear for centuries but, thanks to the restoration work carried out between 2008 and 2009, it was discovered that it dates back to the first decades of the 15th century. It was built on a base of Istrian stone dating to the 13th century which is believed to have been able to support a much narrower wooden crossing than the present one. In fact, from the analysis carried out during the renovations it was possible to see the signs of the extension of the bridge and the construction of the masonry arch following the installation of the basement. The bridge was reopened on the 6th of August 2009 after a period of closure due to its state of decay.
The almost complete lack of certain historical information on the origins of the name of this famous bridge has made the artefact fertile ground for various legends - also due to the presence of the monument known as the Throne of Attila - making the island particularly intriguing and a destination for the curious from all over the world.
In addition to those who believe that the name of the bridge is linked to the presence of a family nicknamed the Devils on the island, there are two legends further legends:
One attributes its creation to the Devil himself:
One day the Devil wanted to demonstrate his ability by declaring, to his disciples and to all the damned of each circle, to be able to build a sturdy and flawless bridge in just one night and one night only. At the stroke of the Devil's hour, which tradition declares to be at 3:33 am, he began his construction work by invoking all the demons useful to him for this arduous undertaking. Unfortunately things didn't go as the Devil planned and the light of dawn surprised him before he had finished creating the parapets and all the finishings he had in mind, including his mark imprinted on the cold night bricks. So that the humans could not see him, he decided to leave the bridge as seen today, in the most ancient form and without the supporting parapets.
The other, more romantic legend, involves a couple in love:
In the Austrian-dominated Venice, a young Venetian noble woman falls madly in love with a young Austrian soldier who reciprocates the girl's love. Theirs, however, is an impossible relationship: her family opposes the union by removing the girl from Venice and the boy is mysteriously killed. However, the entire city knows who the real culprits are.
When the damsel comes to know of the sad fate of her loved one she completely abandons herself to despair and ceases eating, putting her survival at serious risk. It would be an uncle of the girl to revive the mood of the young woman, giving her the chance to meet a person able to reunite her with the man she loves.
Thus, the wealthy Venetian comes into contact with an old sorceress able to subdue demons to the will of magic: through a minor demon, able to open the doors of time and space, the witch sacrifices seven souls of children who died prematurely before baptism in exchange for the young man.
Due to its secluded position, the bridge without parapets on Torcello is chosen as the ideal place to hold the meeting on the 24th of December.
During the meeting, the beloved appears as if by magic and thus the two loved ones have the opportunity to reunite and spend the rest of their lives in a new dimension. The demon and sorceress arrange to meet seven days later to exchange the vial containing the seven innocent souls taken from life still in their swaddling clothes.
The exchange, however, does not take place because a fire kills the sorceress.
Thus, legend has it that on the night of the 24th of December, in the form of a black cat, the Devil still awaits of the sorceress on the bridge to receive what is due to him.
There are versions with various nuances and enrichments of these legends, however there are presently no historical sources or documentation attesting to a precise period in which they took shape.