Italy Seeks to Fast-Track a Ban on Venice Cruise Ships

Italy’s government approved measures to ban large cruise ships in Venice’s historic lagoon to protect the site from over-tourism.

Access to the lagoon and its iconic St. Mark’s square has for years been a bone of contention between environmental campaigners and tourism associations and cruise operators. Tensions heightened in 2019, when a cruise ship crashed into a small tourist boat inside the lagoon, injuring five people.

With Venice set to welcome back its traditional throngs of visitors this summer, the issue has become a test of strength on both sides.

The government approved a decree to ban large cruise ships and large commercial vessels from the lagoon from Aug. 1, while new docking ports further from the city are being considered, according to a statement. The cabinet also set aside 157 million euros ($185 million) to build a temporary docking port in nearby Marghera. Bloomberg News reported the plan to ban ships earlier Tuesday.

The UN’s Unesco this week recommended that Venice be placed on its list of World Heritage in Danger sites.

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