Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

ROME—Italy suspended the passage of large cruise ships through the historic center of Venice, after the return of the giant vessels to the lagoon city since June reopened divisions between Venice’s tourism industry and residents who want the behemoths banned.

Italy’s government on Tuesday decided to stop large cruise ships from approaching Venice’s canals and piazzas until new docking sites have been built on the edges of the lagoon. Campaigners against large cruise ships have argued for decades that the vessels, and the waves and pollution they cause, damage the delicate fabric of Venice.

The decision by the cabinet of Prime Minister Mario Draghi resolves, for now, a long-running dispute over the lucrative cruise-ship traffic that has helped keep Venice’s economy afloat but infuriated many residents.

Venice’s reopening for tourism after the Covid-19 restrictions of the past year has heightened a conflict between local businesses that rely on tourism and residents who want to avoid a return to overcrowding and environmental strains on the city and its surrounding lagoon.

The increasingly heavy maritime traffic of recent years has prompted a mounting backlash in Venice, where many say the heavy wakes of large ships erode the fragile foundations of historic waterfront buildings.

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