I.The talian government has decided to ban large cruise ships from entering the Venetian lagoon. The government announced on Tuesday evening in Rome that the measure applies to cruise ships with more than 25,000 gross registered tons or a length of more than 180 meters or more than 35 meters in height. Even vessels that exceed certain emission standards can no longer drive through the lagoon of the world heritage city.
Ships that are considered sustainable or did not fall under the criteria for the ban should continue to pass the lagoon, it said. It is about cruise ships with a size of around 200 passengers. The decree comes into force one day after it appears in the official gazette “Gazzetta Ufficiale”. According to several ministries, the ships will no longer be able to sail through the lagoon from August 1st. The government sees this as an important step in protecting the Venetian lagoon.
The measures of the Council of Ministers around Prime Minister Mario Draghi follow after experts from the UN cultural organization Unesco suggested a few weeks ago that Venice should be placed on a negative list for endangered world heritage. The Unesco justified the idea among other things with the cruise ships in Venice. Critics warn that the ships pollute and endanger the environment in Venice.
In early June, international artists such as Mick Jagger, Wes Anderson and Tilda Swinton wrote an open letter to Draghi and Italian President Sergio Mattarella to ban cruise ships in Venice completely. In the letter, they also called for better management of tourist flows, the protection of the lagoon’s ecosystem and the fight against property speculation in order to preserve “the physical integrity but also the cultural identity” of the city.
It was not until the beginning of June that a cruise ship from Venice cast off again after a good one and a half years of forced Corona break. For years, locals and activists have been protesting against the huge ships in the architecturally sensitive city in northeast Italy.