Large cruise ships have been banned from entering the historic centre of Venice under a new ruling by the Italian government.
Italy’s culture minister Dario Franceschini said on Wednesday (31 March) the decision – which applies to passenger vessels over 40,000 tons, as well as container ships – had been made in response to a request from Unesco.
Large vessels will no longer be able to enter the Giudecca canal, which leads to St Mark’s Square and must instead dock at the city’s Marghera industrial port until a permanent solution is found, reported Reuters.
Franceschini described the ruling as "a correct decision, awaited for years", and the Italian government has launched a public consultation over proposals for an alternative cruise terminal in the city.
Cruise ship visits to Venice have been fiercely debated for a number of years, with authorities saying they wished to “reconcile the needs to protect the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Venice and its lagoon with those related to cruise activity and goods traffic”, Reuters added.