Venice says cruise ships no longer welcome in city center

Italy’s transport minister announced this week that Venice will ban all cruise ships from entering the city center. The announcement comes after years of anti-tourism protests and petitions.

However, this doesn’t mean that cruise ship passengers won’t be able to see the city any more. They’ll just have to get to it a bit differently.

All ships weighing more than 55,000 tons will no longer have access to Venice’s Giudecca Canal, which cuts through the city next to the historic St. Mark’s Square, Mayor Luigi Brugnaro announced. The large ships will instead have to dock at Marghera, an industrial port northwest of the historic city center.

The government hopes to implement the new route within four years.

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Brugnaro said the decision was “extremely positive” as it found a way to balance environmental concerns with “the jobs created by the cruise industry, which we cannot afford to lose,” according to The Local.

In an unofficial referendum last month, 99 percent of Venetians said that large cruise ships should be banned entirely from the lagoon, The Telegraph reported.

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A person is seen protesting the transit of the cruises into the Venice lagoon back in 2012.  (Reuters)

Last year, Venetian authorities said that they were considering placing a daily cap on the amount of tourists who can enter the city, but government policies have so far shown a preference to rerouting tourists, rather than limiting them.

Earlier this year, the city banned new hotels in the historic center and limited the number of restaurants that could sell pizza by the slice, kebab or other fast food. The government is also promoting attractions in lesser-visited parts of town, implementing a “locals first” policy on water taxis and installing people-counters at the most popular tourist attractions.