They are pushing past venice’s marcus square like skyscrapers and endangering the world’s cultural heritage: after years of dispute, there really should be an end to the cruise ships in the historic center of venice in the future.
At least the italian government wants to ban ships with more than 55,000 tons in the canal of guidecca and thus in front of landmarks like the marcus square. For this they should take another route in the lagoon and dock at a – less glamorous – port in marghera on the mainland.
Environmentalists are nonetheless up in arms: according to media reports, the plan also provides for ships with more than 96,000 tons to be able to enter the lagoon – even if not past the city center. Currently these mega ships are banned in the entire lagoon. "They have chosen the worst project of all," said luciano mazzolin of the anti-cruiser committee no grandi navi to the station radio capital. "We want that the ships do not enter the lagoon at all."Because it will cause serious environmental problems.
In addition, the new terminal for the cruise ships in marghera is not yet ready. The government is therefore talking about a ban on cruisers in front of markusplatz in three or four years time. Until then, the ships will still be allowed to sail in front of the historic old town. The possibility of allowing ships of between 55,000 and 96,000 tons to approach venice via another canal is also to be investigated.
Local residents, cultural and environmentalists have long complained about the damage caused by the giant ships: they endangered the ecological balance in the lagoon, could damage historic buildings and emitted pollutants. Besides, they disgorged even more masses of tourists in the city, which is already overwhelmed by the onslaught.
Unesco has also long been concerned about the cruise ships: the UN cultural protection agency has even warned that venice could be put on the list of endangered cultural assets if no solution is found.
"It’s enough to make it clear to unesco and the world that we have a solution for the rough ships in the lagoon," said venice’s mayor luigi brugnaro, expressing extreme satisfaction with the decision taken by the government in rome together with representatives of the region on tuesday evening. "After months of investigation and serious work, we have found a real solution," also praised transport minister graziano delrio. "It is possible to develop the port and let the cruise ships arrive without jeopardizing the cultural heritage of venice"."
Venice lives from tourism – and also from cruise tourism, many jobs depend on it. Since 1997, cruise tourism has grown by 436 percent, according to passenger terminal data. Last year, according to the port authority, more than 1.6 million cruise tourists came to the port. For them, a trip past the doge’s palace, st. Mark’s square and the other sights of venice is naturally a highlight of the trip. And for the time being this spectacle will not be taken away from them either.
And so the cruise industry was also satisfied. The current decision protects both venice’s cultural heritage and the "valuable cruise industry in venice and the adriatic," the international CLIA association said.
Venice is by no means the only city suffering from the onslaught of cruise tourists. In dubrovnik in croatia and on malta, for example, there is resistance to this boom in tourism.