Cruising to Venice

June 22, 2012

By Stefano Rellandini

Venice has always been a peculiar destination for everyone who visits. As a town built on water it appears somewhat atypical; no cars, no motorcycles, not even any bikes. The only way to travel through the city is to walk or use the gondolas, the traditional boats of Venice.

Ships are primarily used to reach Venice and in recent years these have become bigger and bigger. Every weekend seven or eight arrive at the lagoon of Venice. They then sail in front of San Marco square to reach the harbor.

The transition through the lagoon is always an exciting moment, especially witnessing the dimensions of these huge sea giants against the surrounding territory.

Following the capsizing of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off Giglio Island, Venice residents are no longer comfortable having these big ships in their lagoon.

Their passage creates quite a few problems for the city. People’s first impression is that the ships could run into the houses along the water, though obviously this doesn’t happen as every maneuver is meticulously planned.

Each cruise ship can host between 1,000-1,500 passengers and each year some 2,000 ships pass in front of San Marco square. The ships displace a huge amount of water which can damage the foundations of houses and historical monuments.

Tourism is by far the most important aspect of Venice’s economy. Traveling through the lagoon and in front of San Marco square by ship is a really great experience but maybe it’s better if cruise ship tourists arrive in Venice by sea, then reach San Marco using a typical gondola. Maybe even with a glass of prosecco wine, don’t you think?

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