Italy to keep cruise ships away from centre of Venice

Venice: Cruise ships will no longer be allowed to dock or sail near the historic centre of Venice, following a decision by Italy’s government on March 25.

The move will see giant cruisers diverted to the industrial port at Marghera, away from St Mark’s Square and the Giudecca canal, when cruises resume after Italy relaxes its current covid-19 restrictions.

This will mean that passengers will no longer be able to enjoy Venice’s sites from cruise ships and will have to be ferried into the historic centre from Marghera about 10 km away on the mainland.

The measure – signed jointly by the Italian ministers for the environment, culture, tourism and infrastructure – was taken to “protect a cultural and historical heritage that belongs not only to Italy but to the whole world.”

The temporary decision is the latest chapter in a long-running debate which some view as step closer to a total ban.

Last summer two major cruise operators, MSC Cruises and Costa Crociere, chose to drop the lagoon city from their itineraries in favour of Genoa and Trieste.

Costa announced in recent days that it plans to resume some cruises in May (not the originally scheduled date of 27 March) under strict covid-19 protocols for its staff and passengers.