In a landmark move, Italy’s cabinet on Tuesday declared the lagoon a national monument and banned large cruise ships from entering starting Aug. 1.
Italy announced on Tuesday that it was banning large cruise ships from entering Venice’s waters and was also declaring the city’s lagoon a national monument, in a move to protect a fragile ecosystem from the downsides of mass tourism.
In recent weeks, as cruise ships returned to Venice after the pause imposed by the pandemic, protesters in the city rallied on small boats and on the waterfront with “No big boats” flags. Last Sunday, they demonstrated during the Group of 20 summit for economic ministers that took place in the city, attracting international media attention.
“My heartbeat is so fast I could be having a heart attack,” said Tommaso Cacciari, an activist and spokesman for the No Big Ship Committee, responding to Tuesday’s announcement. “We have been fighting for 10 years, and now this victory feels almost unbelievable.”
In April, the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced that it was planning to ban large cruise ships from the San Marco basin, the San Marco canal and the Giudecca canal, but no date for the ban was set. Also, the prohibition was conditioned on the building of a new port where tourists could disembark to visit the city, a project that could take years.