Huge cruise ships which currently sail through the middle of Venice will be banned from the route by 2022, the Italian government has decided.
Officials made the decision this week that use of the Guidecca Canal, a narrow body of water which runs through the middle of the Italian city, will be closed to ships above 55,000 tonnes.
Under the new scheme, the cruise ships will stop docking on the island of Venice itself, and instead move to the Maghera port on the Italian mainland, currently used by industrial marine traffic.
This map shows the new route the ships are likely to take, which circumvents Venice entirely:
- Google Maps/Business Insider
The decision came after years of opposition from Venetians, who were increasingly perturbed by the sight of the huge ships, which are much larger than most of the buildings in the relatively low-rise settlement.
Campaigners held mass rallies in Venice, arguing that the ships did cultural and environmental damage to their area. At times riot police were called in to protect ships and their passengers.
- Getty Images
Details of the new settlement, decided by a committee of Italian government ministers, were announced on Tuesday.
The exact details of the new plans, due to take effect within three to five years, have yet to be finalised.
But, according to Italy’s La Reppublica newspaper, the most likely outcome is that ships will enter the Venice lagoon at a gap below the town of Malamocco, following the “Petroli” canal route currently used by commercial ships.