Ban Cruise Ships from Damaging Venice’s Fragile Lagoon

Target: Luigi Brugnaro, Mayor of Venice

Goal: Ban large passenger cruise ships from damaging Venice’s fragile lagoon and centuries-old heritage.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is threatening to put Venice on its list of endangered sites because the abundance of cruise ships visiting the historic city is damaging the city’s fragile lagoon and threatening its ancient sites and piazzas. Over one million tourists visit the historic city of Venice, Italy every year by cruise ship. However, little do they know that their very presence is irreparably damaging the very sites they flock to see.

Venice’s lagoon is a fragile ecosystem that has supported the city for nearly a thousand years. The city is built on a foundation of millions of tree trunks placed deep in the lagoon’s floor, making the lagoon’s support of the city quite literal. The city’s very unique environment has made it impossible for the city to modernize. As a result, the city has kept its winding canals and ancient, colorful palaces. Over 25 million people visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site every year.

However, a mix of environmental issues and tourism is already threatening the city. The city is sinking due in part to increasing water levels as well as its foundation sinking deeper into the lagoon bed. Very few locals remain in the city, as the cost of living is too expensive. Homes and palaces have been turned into hotels, restaurants, and shops. Motor boats speeding up and down the Grand Canal create waves that damage centuries-old buildings. Now, cruise ships are adding to the threat.

Cruise ships damage the shallow lagoon, which is home to a very fragile ecosystem that is comprised of balanced amounts of salt and fresh water. The cruise ships also venture dangerously close to ancient sites, such as the Piazza San Marco, home of the Basilica San Marco and Doge Palace. Should a ship crash, as the Costa Concordia did in Italy, these world wonders could be irreparably damaged. The ships also bring a disproportionate amount of tourists to a city that can no longer sustain them.

Sign the petition to support a ban of large passenger liners along the Venetian lagoon. Although tourism is Venice’s livelihood, it is currently not controlled responsibly and could be the reason behind the city’s demise.


Dear Mayor Brugnaro,

Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is no wonder millions of tourists visit the city’s palaces, museums, churches, and restaurants every single year. However, while tourism keeps the city alive, it is also threatening the city with overcrowding and pollution. The cruise ship industry, more than any other, is harming the city most.

Large passenger liners are damaging the shallow lagoon and venturing dangerously close to historic sites such as the Piazza San Marco. If an accident, such as a shipwreck, should occur, these centuries-old buildings could be destroyed. UNESCO has warned that Venice has the potential to become an endangered site if cruise ships are not be banned by 2017.

I urge you to take action to ban large cruise ships. Tourism must be handled responsibly so that Venice can continue to thrive as one of the world’s most unique destinations.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Wolfgang Moroder

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One Comment

  1. The local politicians are all about NOTHING but making money from tourism….they are destroying the very uniqueness of this city, which is nearly 2000 years old……

    Canals are enlarged to FIT giant cruise ships so they can quite literally park on Venice’s streets, as opposed to out to sea, and the passengers brought in a few at a time by smaller craft. Those who care about this, probably MOST Venetians, are made to shut up…..

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