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Influenced by UNESCO directives, Italy's government has ruled that large cruise ships and container vessels must not pass from the Venice Lagoon. The cultural protection agency of the United Nations had long called on Italy to resolve the balancing of the lagoon preservation with the economics of cruise and cargo movement.
Besides, Italy wants to also reconcile the needs to protect the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Venice.
The government will call for public consultations about the possibility of building terminals outside the lagoon where container ships and passenger vessels over 40,000 tons can dock without passing opposite Saint Mark's square and the Giudecca Canal.
All large vessels must now dock at the industrial Marghera Port, a few meters away from the city centre.
Venice, the floating city known for its historical architecture and the fragile lagoon, draws over 25 million visitors a year and is one of Italy’s main tourist destinations. But the very cruise ships bringing in tourists over the years have been a concern to locals who have been urging the government for years to prohibit large vessels from entering from the lagoon. The concerns of the Venetian residents were heightened after a cruise sunk the Tuscan island of Giglio in 2012 and caused erosion of the lagoon over the years.
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini stated “Whoever has been to Venice in recent years, either an Italian or even a foreigner, has been upset to see these humongous ships, equivalent to the size of apartment buildings, passing through such fragile places.”
A large section of Venice is still unhappy as they believe that the very presence of the cruise ships causes great environmental damage in the fragile lagoon.
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