The Italian government announced that large cruise ships will be banned from entering the Venice lagoon. Vessels weighing more than 25,000 metric tons or longer than 180 meters (590 feet) will be affected by the ban.
In an attempt to keep Venice on UNESCO’s world heritage list, Italy’s cabinet of ministers approved the ban, which will no longer allow large cruise ships from entering the Basin of San Marco, the Canal of San Marco and the Giudecca Canal. Venice, which consists of more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, was listed as on the world heritage list in 1987 describing it as an “extraordinary architectural masterpiece.”
Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, said he was “proud of the commitment” in a tweet.
With previous initiatives to prevent cruise ship traffic from entering the lagoon, campaigners and environmental activists alike applauded the ban saying that will protect the ecosystem of the Venetian lagoon system and protect Venice’s historic architecture. Andreina Zitelli, a professor and activist member of the Venice Environmental Association, said there were “‘unknown’ impacts on the city’s ancient infrastructure of bridges and buildings with underwater foundations,” according to Global Times, because cruise ships generate large waves that could cause severe damage to the lagoon.
Yet, Gianfranco Lorenzo, head of research at the Center for Tourism Studies in Florence, said the the ban will reduce tourism estimating that the cruise ship ban will cut tourism in half, Global Times reported.
“Without the signature view of St. Mark’s Square and the rest of Venice, coming to Venice on a cruise will surely seem less attractive to some tourists,” Lorenzo said. “But the city has already said it will focus on more high-level tourism, and if it does that the huge cruise ships would be less relevant anyway. Over time, the impact from the ban will diminish.”
The ban will go into affect on August 1.