Italy bans cruise ships from Venice lagoon

Italy is to ban cruise ships from the Venice lagoon from next month, ending years of hesitation over the status of floating palaces in the Italian city.

The government decided to act after Unesco warned Italy could be placed on a blacklist for not banning liners from the World Heritage Site.

Italy’s culture minister Dario Franceschini confirmed the move in a tweet.

It will bar ships weighing more than 25,000 tonnes from the Giudecca Canal, the waterway that goes past Piazza San Marco – one of the city’s most recognisable sites.

It means only smaller boats will be able to use the Giudecca from next month.

Venice residents and the international community have been urging the government for years to ban large ships passing through the lagoon, arguing that they pollute and threaten the stability of its buildings and fragile ecosystem.

Such concerns clash with the interests of port authorities and tourist operators who say the city needs the business offered by the cruise industry.

Pressure groups such as No Grandi Navi (no big boats) have long lobbied for cruise ships to be outlawed from Venice’s historic centre.

In June, the first cruise ship sailed into Venice since the beginning of the pandemic, to the dismay of local residents and No Grandi Navi, which staged a protest.

Additional reporting by agencies

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