Cruise Ships Will Soon Be Banned From Docking in Venice

venice italy canal carnival freedom
Carnival Freedom in Venice. - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

After a decades-long battle between residents, the Italian government, and city officials in Venice, cruise ships have been banned from docking in the historic city center.

Venetians have long been petitioning for cruise ships to be banned because waves from the bow damage the ancient wooden foundations that make up much of the city. The decision also comes after the crash between MSC Opera and Uniworld’s River Countess riverboat in Venice in June, which also saw the massive MSC ship crashing into the dock terrifying bystanders who were on it.

Yesterday, the Italian government announced that it will begin gradually rerouting the ships away from the city center to dock at a new location, which may be the Fusina and Lombardia terminals three miles away across the lagoon on the mainland. However, the final location will be determined by a public consultation. The plan is for one third of cruise ship calls to port outside the city by next year.

Venice is already a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but Italia Nostra (Our Italy), a nonprofit campaigning organization, says that unbridled tourism, a steady exit of long-time residents, and environmental decay poses a big threat to the city’s survival. In June, a major conservation group in Italy said that Venice should be put on the United Nations’ list of endangered cities.

Venice currently has a population of 55,000 people, and an estimated 60,000 tourists descend upon the city comprised of islands each day — less than half of which spend the night there. In February, it was announced that city officials are planning to introduce a booking system where visitors to Venice will need to pay an entry fee, and can do so before they arrive so that the city council can monitor tourism numbers. The entry fee will likely be between two to five and ten euros, depending on the time of year. A number of other measures have been or are being put in place for visitors, to protect the city as well as locals who live there. These include bans on carrying alcohol in the streets and sitting on the ground, as well as implementing visitors-only routes to popular landmarks such as St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge to keep the more out-of-the-way streets free from tourist crowding.

Information: Daily Mail


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