Venice dodges demotion to World Heritage list after ban on large cruise ships

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Venice avoided being listed as a World Heritage in Danger by UNESCO on Thursday, just weeks after Italy decided to ban large cruise ships from sailing through the city center.

The city has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1987, but the United Nations body warned last month of the need for “more sustainable tourism management”, recommending that Venice be added to his endangered list.

The World Heritage Committee meeting in Fuzhou, China cited Italy’s recent ban and gave the Italian authorities until next December to report on efforts to preserve the ecosystem and heritage of the city.

Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini welcomed the decision, but said “attention to Venice must remain high”, stressing the need to identify a “sustainable development path”.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi expressed his “great satisfaction” with this decision.

For years, activists have called for an end to cruise ships sailing past St. Mark’s Square.

They say the giant floating hotels cause big waves that undermine the city’s foundations and damage the fragile ecosystem of its lagoon.

According to the government ban, larger ships will be banned from entering the San Marco Basin, the San Marco Canal and the Giudecca Canal from August 1.

They will be diverted to the industrial port of Marghera, while smaller cruise ships, of around 200 passengers, can continue to reach the heart of the city.


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