Italy to ban gigantic cruise ships from Venice

Italy to ban gigantic cruise ships from Venice

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The decision comes after Unesco had threatened to place the lagoon city on its list of endangered sites

An era of seeing Venice from a ship cabin meters high above sea level has come to an end. The Italian government has made a long-awaited decision to bar large cruise ships from the city in light of Unesco’s threat it will place it on its list of endangered heritage sites.

The ban will apply to vessels over 25,000 tons

Large vessels over 25,000 tons will be banned from August 1Large vessels over 25,000 tons will be banned from August 1 — Shutterstock

The ban came on Tuesday, only days before Unesco was to discuss the city’s status as an endangered site. It will go into effect on August 1 and apply to vessels weighing over 25,000 tons. 

The government is now looking for a permanent solution. In the meantime, ships will be allowed to dock in the nearby industrial port of Marghera. The temporary docking port with a maximum of five berths will be financed by up to €157 million ($185 million) the cabinet has set aside for its repurposing.

The government has appointed a special commissioner to speed up the process of creating a new docking station.

Further compensation for those affected by the new law is being discussed. 

“We’ve been asking for 10 years to have somewhere else to go, and finally we are on track to get it, so we’re very upbeat — it’s the first time in 10 years that we’re seeing tangible progress,” Francesco Galietti, director of trade body Cruise Lines International Association Italy (CLIA) said to CNN.

A long-term solution is still unclear

The city has been tackling its problem with overtourism and a delicate ecosystem for years now while the local community has been growing impatient with the policy allowing gigantic vessels to enter the shallow waters of Giudecca Canal leading past the famous Piazza San Marco. 

According to Galietti, the nearby port of Marghera is set to serve as a “short to medium-term solution”. Even though it’s located on the mainland outside of the city itself, it’s still part of the Venetian lagoon.

In April, the government announced the necessity to construct a permanent port outside of the lagoon, although it’s expected to take time.

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