The island of Torcello was one of the first lands - together with Chioggia, Cavarzere, Malamocco, Rialto and Grado - to welcome the huge influx of Venetians from the mainland in 568 AD, when the Lombards invaded their territories. The violent conquest of the Germnic populations modified the social pyramid of the Venetians, who had to abandon all their assets on the mainland in order to maintain their freedom. In fact, the entire lagoon territory that extended from Cavarzere to Grado remained outside the control of the Lombard kingdom since it was still considered part of the Roman Empire. The highest Roman-Byzantine offices were located in the cities of Ravenna and Pula and Istria, whilethe military commanders, who represented them, were stationed in the Venetian lagoon cities, where they wereknown as tribuni.
The island quickly became one of the most important centers for the social and economic life of the Venetiancivilization, and which came to hold twenty thousand inhabitants, partly thanks to the Bishop of the diocese of Altino who had wanted to move his headquarters to Torcello in 638. These numbers seem incredible given that there are onlyabout twenty residents today. The island has always been well-known as its sites have been the home of legends and interesting stories like that of the Devil's bridge or Attila's throne - defined by the people as el caregon de Atila - the king of the Huns.
An ancient legend recounts that - in the 5th century AD - after having plundered the Venetian hinterland, the Hunsventured as far as the island of Torcello, in which the inhabitants of the nearby town of Altinum had found refuge, giving the name of Turricellum to their new homeland. The stone throne that can still be admired today in front of the Church of Santa Fosca is said to have been built for the famous king of the Huns - Attila - known by his epithetscourge of God, due to the violence with which he hurled himself towards his enemies.
Historical sources report that the Huns never reached the island Torcello, but first stopped in Aquileia in 452 AD - conquered and partially destroyed after a three-month siege - to then lash out against the cities of Concordia, Oderzo, Altino, Padua and Este. Other historians also note that being a nomadic people of the steppe, it is difficult to believe that the Huns could have been interested in conquering an island with all the difficulties of a siege by sea.
Although this famous legend has no historical basis, it remains an important historical stone relic dating back to the 5th century AD - the period in which the community on the island was born and developed. In all probability, it was used as a bench by the most important figures of the spiritual and temporal power that governed the people of Torcello (suchas the magister militum or the governor of the island) during council meetings and when administering justice from the tribunes of the administration and the figure of the bishop.