The Telegraph in the U.K. has an interesting article this weekend – "Cruise Ships Could Be Shut Out of Venice Over Erosion Fears."
The article points out that environmentalists and heritage groups have long complained that mammoth cruise ships plow through the shallow Venetian lagoon and damage the fragile canal banks, wooden piles and mud banks on which the city rests.
The article shows a photograph of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas looming over the beautiful canals and bridges of Venice.
The mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, plans to meet the head of the city’s port authority, Paolo Costa, this week to discuss the problem. He is quoted stating that "the problem of these juggernauts of the sea needs to be confronted."
There has been a significant increase in the number of cruise ships visiting Venice, from 200 in 2000 to 510 in 2007. The newspaper reports that last year 1,600,000 tourists arrived in Venice by cruise ship
Mayor Orsoni suggested that cruise ships could be transferred to Porto Marghera, on the mainland, in order to minimize the environmental and aesthetic impact on Venice.
This is not the first time that a major newspaper has addressed this issue. In May, the New York Times ran across an interesting article "Venice Tourist Ships Rattle Windows and Nerves" by Elisabetta Povoledo.
I visited Venice by backpack when I was in college and commented on my impression of the effects of the cruise industry on Venice over the past 35 year in my article Are Cruise Ships Ruining Venice Or Just Memories From My Youth? You can see a couple of photos I took when I was in college and stayed in Venice for a few days.
The photo below is from the New York Times article.
Top: Alamy via the Telegraph
Bottom: Manuel Silvestri/Reuters