Venice bans cruise ships from the city center — again

First there was a ban. Then it became a pre-ban for an uncertain date in the future. Then they were back in the city until further notice.

Now, cruise ships will be banned from sailing through the city center of Venice from August 1, the Italian government has announced. Instead of sailing past the iconic St Mark’s Square, and up the narrow Giudecca Canal, docking in the city-center port, from next month large cruise ships will be rerouted through the Venice lagoon, and dock on the mainland, at the industrial port of Marghera. The Italian government announced the ban late on July 13, calling it “an important step for the safeguarding of the Venetian lagoon” in a statement. In June, UNESCO drafted a recommendation to add Venice to its list of World Heritage in Danger, including the presence of cruise ships in its reasoning.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, who has regularly voiced his opposition to cruise ships, tweeted that he was “proud of having kept a promise.” He was a proposer of the new law, along with President Mario Draghi, and Italy’s minister of sustainable infrastructure and transport, Enrico Giovannini. The law will protect the “environmental, artistic and cultural heritage of Venice,” said the government in a statement. It will affect ships weighing over 25,000 tons, with lengths of over 180 meters. The government said that a maximum of five berths will be created at Marghera, at a cost of €157 million ($185 million). It has promised compensation for those who lose out financially from the law, although it did not specify whether this includes any of the 4,200 local workers employed by the cruise industry.

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