Venice's long struggle to deal with the huge cruise ships that dwarf its islands and canals and may be undermining the city's foundation has taken a new turn with Italy's transport minister looking to re-route the ships starting as early as next month.
But joy is not unrestrained because the plan Danilo Toninelli offered at a parliamentary hearing last week has not been discussed with local and regional officials or with leaders of the campaign to save the city from the huge ships, and there are questions about the feasibility of his proposal to move the cruise terminals to mainland ports opposite Venice.
Toninelli, a member of the Five Star Movement, an anti-establishment partner in Italy's government, had previously angered locals by dismissing without discussion a 2017 plan that was drawn up among the committee and Venetian leaders. And those local leaders point out that Toninelli's plans would require major work to shift cargo facilities from the areas he proposes for cruisers.
The struggle over cruise ship effects on Venice has intensified in recent months. Not only has there been renewed concern over the effect of the huge ships on the pile-and-fill foundation of the city, but there have been increasing safety concerns as one ship crashed into a wharf and a tourist boat, and another nearly missed a collision with a large yacht, both in the heart of the city.