Italy moves to force big ships to take back route to Venice


Large cruise ships will soon be banished from the centre of Venice, Italy's transport minister announced on Monday.

The large ships will instead have to dock at Marghera, an industrial port northwest of the historic city center. 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. I was last in Venice in the summer of 1978 (photo above left) when I was a college student. While the large cruise ships that enter the city represent a key driver of its tourism-based economy, Venice's 50,000 or so residents have warned that the city can't withstand all the attention.

The new plan will "guarantee the safeguarding of the city and is a timely and necessary decision after years of debate, rows and battles", Pier Paolo Baretta, a junior Treasury minister, said.

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"We want it to be clear to UNESCO and the whole world that we have a solution", said Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro via The Guardian. They'll just have to get to it a bit differently.

Ships weighing more than 96,000 tonnes were banned from the Giudecca canal in 2013, while the number of smaller ships using the waterway was limited to five a day, but that legislation was overturned at the end of 2015.

While 99 percent of Venetians who voted in an unofficial referendum this past June supported the ban, not everyone is optimistic about the committee's ruling.