Venice to ban large cruise ships from city center

Following years of protests over the proliferation of tourists, Venice is finally implementing a ban on cruise ships from entering its historic city center.

The ban comes on the heels of MSC Opera’s dramatic crash on the Giudecca Canal in June 2019, after which Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro urged UNESCO to put the city on the world heritage blacklist. In response to the crash, thousands of people marched in Venice to demand that cruise ships be kept out of the lagoon.

As part of the new ban, cruise ships weighing more than 1,000 tonnes will be diverted to Fusina and Lombardia terminals, far from the city’s central islands but still inside the lagoon, starting next month until the end of 2019, says Danilo Toninelli, the Italian minister of infrastructure and transport.

In the future, ships will dock at a new location to be determined by public consultation. Venues that are being considered include Chioggia and Lido San Nicolo on the Adriatic side, reports the Financial Times.

“Starting now, we will decrease the number of liners passing by Giudecca and San Marco, particularly the bigger ones,” he said at a transport committee hearing. “The aim is to reroute about one-third of the cruise ships already booked on Venice towards new berths by 2020.”

According to the Port Authority, an estimated 32,000 cruise ship passengers disembark in Venice daily from April to October. In addition to the dangers and crowding issues involved with overtourism, cruise ships are also making an environmental impact on Venice, such as pollution and the erosion of its centuries-old buildings.

To help further curb the problem of overtourism, Venice is enforcing a new entrance fee of up to €10 for day-trippers, coming into effect in September. Those staying overnight will be exempt from the fee.

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