Will Venice's ban end the cruise ship battle?

This was the first cruise ship since lockdown to set sail through the Venice lagoon, but it may also have been one of the last.

Hundreds of people rallied on land and small boats to demand an end to giant liners passing through the historic lagoon city.

And it seems they were heard.

A few weeks later, the government announced a ban from Aug 1st to defend the city’s ecosystem and heritage.

The move ended years of political hesitation, putting the demands of residents and culture bodies above those of port authorities and tourist operators

who say the city needs the business offered by the cruise industry.

The ban came in reaction to threats by UNESCO to put Italy on a blacklist for not banning liners from the World Heritage site.

From August 1 ships weighing more than 25,000 tonnes will be prohibited from the shallow Giudecca Canal that leads past Piazza San Marco, the city's most famous landmark.

The government’s proposal is to build an alternative port nearby – but this solution doesn’t seem to please either group.

Activists don’t want liners even near Venice, concerned about pollution and safety.

But port workers are frustrated that it will be some time until the port is ready for liners to dock there.

Many have only just started working again after 19 month of lockdowns - and see the latest news as an unimaginable blow.

Environmental scientist Jane da Mosto is the executive director of “We are here Venice”, a group focusing on environmental and social projects across the lagoon.

She says the ban was not a long-term solution to the fragile city’s problems.

iDIRECTOR OF "WE ARE HERE VENICE" NON-PROFIT ASSOCIATION, JANE DA MOSTO]

"Of course it was a relief that some, you know, the government was finally doing something with a definite timeline to take these monsters away from the heart of the city but a split second after feeling relieved about that, all the other issues started to come into mind about the urgent need for a long-time solution to the problem."

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