Italy Bans Large Cruise Ships From Venice Canals Starting Aug. 1

The ban includes any ship that weighs more than 25,000 tons or is longer than 530 feet.

Italy has declared the waterways around Venice a "national monument," finally banning large cruise ships from the canal city, according to reports.

The ban, which will go into effect on Aug. 1, includes any ship that weighs more than 25,000 tons or is longer than 530 feet, and will apply to the lagoon basin near St. Mark's Square and the Giudecca Canal, The Associated Press reported. It marks the culmination of a years-long effort to oust mega cruise ships from the city, including a request from UNESCO.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini told the AP the government had to act "to avoid the concrete risk" that UNESCO would add Venice to its list of "world heritage in danger."

He said the decision was "awaited by UNESCO and by all those who have been to Venice and who have remained disturbed by the huge size of these ships passing through the most fragile and most beautiful place in the world."

Cruise ship in Venice
MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

Efforts to ban mega cruise ships from the city (and combat overtourism) have been in the works for years with the city first announcing its intentions to ban ships weighing more than 96,000 tonnes in 2013 before that was overturned. In 2017, the city again announced its plans before trying yet again in 2019, the same year a cruise ship collided with a dock and tourist boat, injuring four people.

Earlier this year, Italian ministers approved a ban on larger ships, but initially planned for the implementation to take time. Then in June, the 16-deck, more than 92,000-ton MSC Orchestra set sail from the city. Franceschini told the AP the government had since "decided to impose a strong acceleration" to its plans.

When the ban takes effect, smaller ships will still be allowed to enter the canals.

On Tuesday, Franceschini tweeted the news and said he was "Proud of a kept commitment."

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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