The tide has turned again in Venice's long battle with cruise ships that sail into the center of the fragile city, dwarf the landscape, and potentially damage fragile ancient buildings. A new plan, proposed by the central government, will shift the large ships to the industrial port of Marghera, a 15-minute ride from Venice.
The plan, which will apply to all ships over 55,000 tons, is not the first attempt to regulate the ships; a 2013 plan that imposed a different set of limits was tossed by a court in 2015. Venetians have mounted protests, on land and in the water, demanding limits, and also concerned about the number of visitors on each day.
An unofficial referendum in June, called by some of the protest groups, had 99% of 18,000 voters supporting a ban. Not all of the groups are satisfied with the new proposal, in part because it will take as much as four years to prepare port facilities at Marghera for cruise ships. However, the company responsible for ports and terminals in the Venice lagoon has said it will go ahead with the plan.