The Italian government has approved a decree banning cruise liners from entering the Venetian Lagoon, putting an end to years of hesitation and putting the demands of residents and cultural organizations above the requirements of the tourism industry.
This is reported by the Reuters news agency.
According to sources in the Italian Cabinet, the government decided to act after the UNESCO organization threatened to blacklist Italy for not prohibiting the passage of liners to the World Heritage Site.
The ban will come into force on August 1 and will apply to ships weighing more than 25,000 tons.
They will be banned from walking the Giudecca Canal, which passes by St. Mark’s Square, a famous landmark of the city.
The Ministry of Culture said in a statement that the legislation, which may affect the business of cruise companies such as Carnival Cruises, provides for compensation to firms and their employees.
Venice residents and the international community have for years called on the government to ban the passage of large ships through the lagoon, as they pollute the ecosystem and threaten buildings.
Such concerns contradict the interests of the port authorities and tourist operators, who say that the city needs a cruise industry.
The threshold of 25,000 tons will mean that only small passenger ferries and cargo ships will be able to use the Giudecca Canal, with the exception of all cruise liners, which usually weigh at least four times as much and can reach more than 200,000 tons.