Italian Transport Minister Graziano Delrio announced that cruise ships of certain tonnage will be stopped from cruising through the city’s Giudecca Canal around the historic St Mark’s Square. In "three or four years," large cruise ships of certain displacement will have to go to the north to the industrial port city of Marghera. Some newspapers report that the restriction will apply to ships of over 55,000 tons whereas other newspapers state that the limitation will apply to ships over 100,000 tons.
This comes after complaints from environmental groups, protests from local residents, and warnings from UNESCO which has labeled the fragile city of Venice as at risk from deterioration by large ships as well as the millions of tourists which swarm into the popular city.
My family visited Venice during a trip to Italy last year (photo below). I was last in Venice in the summer of 1978 (photo above left) when I was a college student. (Read my thoughts in Are Cruise Ships Ruining Venice Or Just Memories From My Youth?) As our family watched tour groups of 20-30 cruise passengers pour through the tight street and congregate in the plazas, my oldest son commented that he thought the city seemed "infested with tourists."
Venice has banned monster cruise ships in the past (over 96,000 tons) only to see the industry cruise around the restrictions.
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November 10, 2017 Update: It seems that the issue is more complicated than it appears. : What is Happening to Venice? Venice’s cruise ship ban is hiding its tourism problem, not fixing it.
Photo credits: Jim Walker