Italy bans cruise liners from historic centre

Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Italian authorities have prohibited the entry of cruise liners and container ships into the historic center of Venice. These large ships are now required to dock at the industrial port of the city until a permanent solution is found to this issue.

The cabinet passed this decree saying that there was a pressing need to protect the “artistic, cultural, and environmental heritage of Venice.”

From now, these ships, which often weigh much over 40,000 tonnes, will not be allowed to enter the Giudecca canal, which leads to the historic St Mark’s Square.

Proponents of this ban have long argued that such ships have eroded the foundations, fragile architecture, and the ecological balance of the Venice, one of the most beautiful historic cities in the world, which is now prone to frequent flooding.

While cruise ships have stayed docked during the coronavirus pandemic, this decree will apply when the voyages resume as normal.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini hailed the move, which he described as “a correct decision, awaited for years”.

UNESCO also praised the decision, saying that “it will provide all the necessary assistance and support to Italy to protect the outstanding universal value of this World Heritage property in the long term.”

However, this is not the first time that Italy has made this decision. In 2013, authorities had prohibited ships weighing more than 96,000 tonnes from entering the Giudecca canal. However, the legislation was later revoked. Pressure to ban these ships increased in 2019, when a cruise ship crashed into a harbour in the city, injuring five people.

Don’t you think that this is a welcome move by Italy? Let us know in the comments section below.

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