Italian authorities have recently approved a ban on large cruise ships entering the historic centre of Venice.
A new decree enacted 31 March 2021, prohibits passenger ships over 40,000 tons and container ships from passing close to Venice’s historic center.
Italy’s culture minister said that the decision came in response to a request from UN cultural body Unesco.
Some argue the ships cause pollution and erode the foundations of the city.
Large ships will now have to dock at the city’s industrial port until a permanent solution is found; possibly as a new terminal outside the lagoon.
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Large cruise and container ships will no longer be able to enter the city’s Giudecca canal, which leads to the historic St Mark’s Square.
According to a report by the BBC, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini hailed the move, which he described as “a correct decision, awaited for years”.
Since the COVID-19 cruise ban, the water quality in Venice lagoons has dramatically improved.
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However, this isn’t the first time pressure has mounted to ban large cruise ships and other vessels to Venice.
In 2019, the MSC Opera experienced an engine failure and collided with the dockside and a tourist boat with its siren blaring. The incident injured fice people.
In 2013, the government also banned ships weighing more than 96,000 tonnes from the Giudecca canal, but the legislation was later overturned.
More plans to divert cruise ships from the centre of the water-side city were announced in 2017 too, but never fully implemented.
Many Venetians dislike large cruise ships immensely and there are even hand-painted banners dotted around the tourist destination saying things such as ‘Ban Large Ships”.
Reasons for their outrage include pollution, over-tourism, and the fact that cruise day-trippers don’t spend their tourism $$$’s in the city supporting hardworking locals and small businesses.
It is possible that the effects from COVID-19 have given Italy the break they needed to reevaluate what is best for their cities.
Do you think this time is different to the rest? Will the cruise ban last? Let us know, email [email protected]
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