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We are here because we are against this road, but also against the tourism model that is destroying cities, expelling residents, destroying the earth, cities, and pollution,” said 29-year-old teacher and Venetian resident Marta Sottoriva.

However, the port authorities, workers and the city government welcomed the departure of the orchestra operated by Mediterranean Cruise Line as a symbol of starting business after the health crisis has dealt a heavy blow to the cruise industry and the wider tourism industry.

“We are very happy to come back… restart the engine. We care about Venice very much and we have been looking for a stable and easy-to-manage ship solution for many years,” said Francesco Galietti, national director of the trade group Cruise Line International (CLIA).

Over the years, some residents have urged the government to ban large cruise ships and other large ships from passing through the lagoon and docking not far from the famous St. Mark’s Square.

Activists worry about safety and the environment, including pollution and underwater erosion in a city that is already in danger due to rising seawater.

“The struggle is very long and I think we are against very big economic interests,” said Marco Baravalle, a 42-year-old researcher and member of the No Grandi Navi organization.

He added that he and other protesters fear that “everything will return to the state it was in before the pandemic.”

The Italian government stipulated in April that cruise ships and container ships should not enter the historic center of Venice, but should stop at other places.

However, the ban will not take effect until the pier outside the lagoon is completed and construction bidding has not been initiated. From next year, some traffic may be transferred to the nearby Marghera port.



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About the Author: Agnes Zang