Italy Doesn’t Want Giant Cruise Ships Anywhere Near Historic Venice

For passengers aboard the ginormous floating pleasure rides we call cruise ships, the chance to see the historic Italian city of Venice draws spectators to the decks, so they can revel in a fantastic, panoramic view. But then there are those tourists strolling by the canals of the old city who could be shaken out of their reveries by the appearance of a monstrous giant sailing by. Only one group gets to enjoy the Venice views.

That group will be the landlubbers tromping through Venice by foot or gondola, as a special commission in Italy voted yesterday to divert lumbering cruise ships away from the center of Venice by 2016, reports the Associated Press.

Right now, cruise ships pass about 1,000 feet from St. Mark’s Square, a lovely thing for those onboard but a somewhat startling sight for those wrapped in visions of a time gone by. But everything changed after the Costa Concordia sunk in January 2012, an event that put pressure on to get ships out of the central Giudecca canal and St. Mark’s Basin.

Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni said the decision “finally inverts the tendency toward gigantism in the lagoon.”

Instead, the commission approved a new canal that will allow ships to come through the lagoon from the other side and thus, skip the historic center altogether.

Citizens in favor of ridding the area of cruise ship traffic said the diversion is “a first victory for our movement,” and now a group of residents says it’ll work on the “devastating” environmental impact of the new canal.

Until the new canal is built, cruise traffic in front of St. Mark’s will be reduced by 20%, down from the 661 cruise ships that arrived in the area last year. Passengers will also only see Venice by daytime, as the new measure allows for passage between sunrise and sunset.

Italy to divert cruise ships from historic Venice [Associated Press]

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