Venice citizens protest against cruise ship tourism
Venice is one of the most beautiful cities of the world. Medieval churches, large squares and a labyrinth of canals with gondolas that take tourists for a ride. However, when gigantic cruise ships float into the city and thousands of people look down on the medieval architecture its elegance and flair ceases to exist.
During the season gigantic cruise vessels bring up to 30,000 tourists to Venice every day. More and more Venetians are protesting against these big ships taking over the skyline of their city. There is also a discussion going on about how much tourism such a city can handle.
Many citizens are opposing mass tourism in a city that has become increasingly full of tourists and souvenir shops. They think their city is being exploited until nothing is left.
Many protesters say that modern ships simply do not belong in a city with small canals and historic buildings. They also fear that such large ships may raise the sea level and do damage to the foundations of old buildings.
The port authorities, on the other hand, state that large ships do no harm to the city and its environment. They say that the arrival of the ships in Venice’s lagoon is not more dangerous than the natural tides that come in and out of the city. In addition, passenger ships make up about 20% of the income that comes from the 20 million people who visit Venice every year. Each cruise ship pays 40,000 euros for its stay in the city, money that cannot be rejected. The money, however, goes to the port authorities, a federal organization, and not directly into city funds.
The Italian government is now considering giving the city more control over its canals and waterways. This may go as far as a ban on large vessels coming into the city and stopping directly in front of the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Square, Venice’s central place.
City authorities are also taking a look at potential docking areas outside the city. Cruise passengers would then have to travel to the centre by ferry, just like all the others do.
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- authorities = city organizations that have power
- ban = forbid; not allow
- cease = stop
- citizen = a person who lives in a city or country and has rights there
- consider = think about
- dock = place where ships can stay for a certain time
- elegance = beauty, style
- environment = the world around us
- exploit = to try to get as much as you can out of a situation
- federal = national
- ferry = boat that carries people over a short distance
- flair = special atmosphere
- float = here: travel in water
- foundation = the walls of a building that are under ground or under the water
- fund = the money that is collected
- gigantic = very big
- handle = deal with
- harm = damage
- however = but
- in addition = also
- income = money you get for regular work
- labyrinth = a large network of passages or routes
- medieval = from the Middle Ages
- oppose = to be against
- port authorities = organization that is in charge of controlling ships that come to the city
- potential = possible
- raise = go up
- reject = to say no
- sea level = the average height of the sea
- skyline = the shape of the buildings of a city seen from the sea
- stay = visit
- tide = the regular rising and fall of the sea
- Venetian = a person who lives in Venice
- vessel = ship