Italians concerned with the negative effects of air and water pollution have appealed to actress Sophia Loren to stop a cruise ship named in her honor from visiting Venice.
An environmental organization, the "No Big Ships Venice Committee," wrote an open letter to the star asking for her support in keeping the MCS Divina and its passengers and crew of 4,500 from entering the fragile lagoon which surround the historic city. Ms. Loren christened the Divina last month.
In addition to air emissions and water discharges, the environmental group is concerned that the heavy cruise traffic is eroding and cracking the foundations of historic buildings. The group is asking the famous movie star to renounce her role as godmother of the ship in an effort to protect Venice.
Italia Nostra (Our Italy), the country's leading conservation group, is also involved in trying to keeping large cruise ships out of the Venice lagoon.
Since 1987, the number of cruise passengers cruising through Venice has risen from 280,000 to 1,800,000 last year.
The huge cruise ships on steroids are grossly out-of-scale when juxtaposed next to the historic buildings in Venice. Last year I wrote a couple of articles about the spectacle of monster ships invading Venice: Will the Juggernauts of the Seas Ruin Venice? and Are Cruise Ships Ruining Venice Or Just Memories From My Youth?
Photo Credit: EcoTraveller / Mostly Dans
June 3, 2012 Update:
A number of readers brought to my attention, ironically enough, that the Carnival Breeze is making its inaugural cruise out of Venice this weekend. Carnival's CEO Micky Arison is even posting photos online via Twitter. The first photo is of the Breeze arriving in Venice and the second photo posted by Arison has the caption "What a beautiful night shot of Carnival Breeze."
I suppose that's debatable. I for one would prefer to see the gondolas of Venice without a gigantic cruise ship plowing though the waters behind them. And I would hate to look out my balcony window and see the freakish sight of a Miami cruise-based cruise ship lighting up the night sky of Venice while blowing emissions all over the place.