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Published on Friday, June 21, 2019

Mayor asks UNESCO to put Venice on World Heritage Site blacklist

The mayor of Venice is to ask UNESCO to place the city on its World Heritage Site blacklist amid frustration that a plan to halt large cruise ships entering central canals has not been delivered.

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said residents of the city had no faith in the government, and felt let down by the transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, who has rejected a plan agreed by Italy's previous administration that would have closed off the busy Giudecca canal to cruise ships.

Pressure to curb access to large cruise ships has been mounting following a crash involving MSC Opera earlier this month, in which four people were injured.

Following the crash, the transport minister said a solution would be announced soon, but he has not presented the plan yet to local authorities. 

However, it is claimed he did not meet Venice leaders when he visited last week to discuss the original plan or his alternative proposals, which include building a new cruise ship terminal at either the Lido San Nicolò or in Chioggia, a coastal town south of Venice.

Brugnaro told Radio 24 no longer feels represented by Toninelli, who he described as having 'an arrogance I've never seen in my life and pretends of having understood in half a day what I haven't understood in 57 years'.

He added: "We will write to UNESCO to ask for the city to be put on the blacklist.

"Venice is in danger and we feel in danger."

A UNESCO blacklist would significantly restrict entry into the city and is reserved for sights under significant danger.

Unesco originally gave Italian authorities until 2017 to undertake measures to protect Venice's monuments and preserve its environment, or risk the city being put on its endangered world heritage list.

That deadline was then extended by a year, and again until 2021.

A 2017 plan that would force the cruise ships weighing more than 96,000 tons to take a less central route is still waiting for the national government's final approval.

Work on the new route could take up to four years.

Image by Jorg Peter from Pixabay

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