UNESCO says the historic centre is in danger if cruise ships do not dock at another port. The Italian government announced earlier this year it would ban these ships from the historic centre. The plan was for the ships to divert to the industrial port of Marghera.
As a cruise liner filled the windows of buildings lining the lagoon earlier in June, Venetians protested. It was the first since the pandemic began.
A decree approved in April was for cruise ships to dock at Marghera port. However, to make this possible major infrastructure work needs to take place.
Whilst those works take place, the only passage for ships to enter Venice is via the Giudecca canal.
UNESCO seek long-term solution
“A long-term solution is urgently needed,’’ said Unesco. “A solution that will prevent total access to the lagoon, redirecting them to more suitable ports in the area.’’
UNESCO, according to news agency ANSA, said it would examine a proposal to put Venice on its endangered list. However, it would take this action if Venice does not issue a permanent ban on cruise ships docking there.
UNESCO announced it will discuss the issue at its plenary session on July 16-31. If they approve moving the city to the endangered list, it could demand action by the Italian government by February.
Culture minister says more work required
“Unfortunately, the Unesco decision has been in the air for some time,” said the Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini.
“Putting Venice on the UN endangered list would be a serious problem for our country, and there is no more time to waste. An important step has already been taken with the latest decree but we must do more and immediately prevent the passage of large ships in the Giudecca canal,” he said.
The government recently received a letter signed by famous figures, including Mick Jagger and Tilda Swinton, urging them to take action and protect the city.