Are cruise ships banned from Venice? That’s been the buzz in the media lately. As cruises become increasingly more popular, some countries are saying enough. And Italy just so happens to be one of those countries. In fact, Venice has been trying to ban cruise ships from entering its port since 2017.
In June, the MSC Opera crashed into a pier and tourist boat along the Giudecca Canal, the main artery that leads to St. Marks Square. Matters became worse a few weeks later when the Costa Deliziosa almost collide with a yacht during a storm. And Italian officials are fed up.
Tourism is one of Venice’s main economic backbones. But, are the 25-30 millions of visitors harming the city and or hurting it? The 5th-century city is a mecca of architectural wonders. The UNESCO World Heritage property consists of the city of Venice and its lagoon in the Veneto Region of Northeast Italy. Italia Nostra summoned UNESCO to register the town and its famous lagoon on the most endangered World Heritage Sites. The group claims the large cruise ships in the Guidecca Canal and the San Marco Basin is a primary contributor to the deterioration of the UNESCO Site and are thereby asking for a ban on cruise ships through the historic area reports the Maritime Executive.
“Everyone seems to agree that large ships should no longer travel along that channel,” the association wrote in a release. Italia Nostra cited the erosion of the lagoon – allegedly attributable to ship traffic – as well as increasing tourist pressure and the risk of maritime casualties, like the collision in the Guidecca Canal on June 2.
So is the ban in effect? Are cruise ships no longer permitted to enter Venice? The Maritime Executive reports that the government group is working on ways to minimize the risk from cruise ships in the city center. According to Minister of Transport Danilo Toninelli, the group is considering a plan that will reroute about one-third of the vessel to alternative ports, such as Lombardia and Fusina, as early as September. The bottom line is that no definitive decision has been made as of yet.