On Thursday, Venice avoided being designated as an endangered world heritage site by UNESCO, just weeks after Italy took steps to prohibit large cruise ships from entering the city.

UNESCO has listed Venice as a world heritage site since 1987, but the UN body recently issued a warning about the need for “more sustainable tourism management,” proposing that the city be placed to its endangered list.

The World Heritage Committee meeting in Fuzhou, China, underlined Italy’s recent restriction and gave the Italian government until December to report back on actions to protect the city’s ecosystem and heritage.

Dario Franceschini, Italy’s Culture Minister, appreciated the decision, but added that “attention on Venice must remain high,” emphasising the need to find a “sustainable development path.”

The decision was met with “great satisfaction” by Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Campaigners have been demanding for cruise ships to stop sailing past St Mark’s Square for years.

They claim that the massive floating hotels cause large waves that erode the city’s foundations and threaten the lagoon’s fragile ecosystem.

As on August 1, the larger ships will be prohibited from accessing the Basin of San Marco, the San Marco Canal, and the Giudecca Canal, according to the government’s ban.

They will be diverted to the industrial port of Marghera, while smaller cruise ships carrying up to 200 passengers would be allowed to continue to the city’s centre.


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