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Cruise ships told to give Venice a very wide berth

‘Invasions’: Cruise
ships, such as this
one in the Venice
Lagoon, have been
accused of spoiling
the skyline and
damaging
foundations PICTURE: AFP

VENICE became the latest tourist hotspot to crack down on sightseers yesterday with plans for a ban on cruise ships.

Thousands of tourists have had a first glimpse of the city from liners sailing up the ancient Grand Canal.

But residents have accused the giant ships of blighting the skyline and damaging its foundations.

Protests intensified after five people were injured when the MSC Opera smashed into the quayside of the Giudecca Canal in June.

From next year, one in three of the ships will be required to moor away from the city and officials are looking to send all cruises away in the longer term.

Announcing the crackdown, Italian tourist minister Danilo Toninelli said he wanted to ‘avoid witnessing more invasions of the Giudecca by these floating palaces, with the scandals and risks that they bring’.

The move came a day after Rome’s ‘tourist police’ began issuing £230 fines for sitting down on the city’s Spanish Steps. The Italian capital has also cracked down on dropping cigarette butts, going bare-chested or cooling off in the Trevi Fountain.

‘The tourists behave well in their country and are scared of their police forces,’ said Rome’s police chief Antonio Di Maggio. ‘But here they just do as they please.’

In Venice, other new rules include a ban on going shirtless or swimming in the canals. Last month, two German tourists were fined £875 for making coffee on the Rialto Bridge.

Meanwhile the stag do favourite Prague looks set to dent its reputation as a party city with a blitz on antisocial behaviour. Drinking in the street or being too noisy in public after 10pm attracts a fine of up to £400 but the rules are widely ignored as 70 per cent of tourists are first-time visitors. Posters will point out the laws to everyone.

Tourism director Petr Slepicka said: ‘It is so Prague ceases to be perceived as a city where everything is possible.’