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Venice and the Cruise Ships

Venezia e le Grandi Navi by Gianni Berengo Gardin - courtesy Fondazione Forma
(Venice, Italy) On Sunday, July 7, there was a violent storm in Venice complete with thunder, lightning, chunks of hail, very strong winds and tumultuous waters. Everyone knew the storm was coming. The cruise ship Costa Deliziosa left the port anyway, and then nearly crashed into the bank, narrowly missing a yacht.

Cruise Ship Near-Miss on July 7, 2019
Cruise Ship Crash on June 2, 2019

Last month, on June 2, the Festa della Sensa, the day Venice renews her vows with the sea, the 66,000-ton out-of-control cruise ship MSC Opera crashed into the docked River Countess, a much smaller river cruise boat, injuring four people and scaring the wits out of everybody. Here is a report from CBC News:

Anti-Cruise Ship Protest - Post from September 2012

The following is an excerpt from a post I wrote back on September 19, 2012, nearly seven years ago when Venice and Italy were under an entirely different administration. You can imagine that for Venetians to go through the trouble to stage a protest back then, things had already reached a critical point. If you read the entire post, you will see that I have included several quotes from the international press, so the cruise ship situation in Venice was already a global topic way back in 2012.

Anti-Cruise Ship Demonstration in Venice - September 16, 2012

Photo: Arved Gintenreiter
(Venice, Italy) There was a festive atmosphere when I arrived at the demonstration against the cruise ships here in Venice at the Punta della Dogana on Sunday, September 16, 2012 a bit before 3PM. During the Venetian Republic, the Punta della Dogana was the customs house, holding precious cargo from all over the world that arrived by sea. These days it is owned by billionaire Frenchman Francois Pinault, and contains contemporary art exhibits.

 Photo: Arved Gintenreiter
On Sunday, the tip of the triangle at the Dogana was crowded with locals and over 100 bicyclists (and their bikes) who joined the protest from the mainland, in addition to curiosity-seekers who bought up home-made sandwiches and red "No Grandi Navi" tee-shirts. Aretha Franklin belted out "All I want is a little respect" over the loudspeakers. A flotilla of small boats -- many of which contained children -- decked out with "No Grandi Navi" flags and colorful balloons bobbed in the lagoon, surrounded by a strong police presence.

Click to read the entire post: Anti-Cruise Ship Demonstration in Venice - September 16, 2012

Gianni Berengo Gardin Cancelled Exhibition - Post from October 2015

Then, about two years later, on October 23, 2015, I wrote a post about the blocked Gianni Berengo Gardin Monsters in Venice exhibition at Palazzo Ducale, and translated the letter that Berengo Gardin had written to Luigi Brugnaro, the Mayor of Venice:

Venice and the Cruise Ships - Blocked Gianni Berengo Gardin Exhibition Opens in Piazza San Marco

Venice and the Cruise Ships by Gianni Berengo Gardin - Courtesy Fondazione Forma
(Venice, Italy) Gianni Berengo Gardin, whom The Telegraph called "Italy's Greatest Photographer," was supposed to have an exhibition opening at Palazzo Ducale on September 19, 2015 about the cruise ships in Venice entitled, Monsters in Venice. Luigi Brugnaro, the controversial new mayor of Venice, and a strong supporter of the cruise ship industry, postponed the exhibition to coincide with an exhibit about his own plans for the lagoon. Berengo Gardin would not accept those conditions, and the show was cancelled.

Click to read the entire post: Venice and the Cruise Ships - Blocked Gianni Berengo Gardin Exhibition Opens in Piazza San Marco

Gianni Berengo Gardin's Tale of Two Cities by Donna Serbe-Davis

Now, filmmaker Donna Serbe-Davis, is putting the finishing touches on her riveting documentary entitled "Gianni Berengo Gardin's Tale of Two Cities." The documentary allows us to hear Gianni Berengo Gardin in his own words, along with the vibrant voices of those who actually live in Venice. With the knowledge of Donna Serbe-Davis, I recently began promoting the trailer on social media. Have a look:

Gianni Berengo Gardin's Tale of Two Cities from Donna Serbe-Davis on Vimeo.

It would appear that the endless cycle of protests, media coverage and Twitter debates accomplishes very little. According to an article in The Economist on June 8 entitled What slumping demand for cruises says about Chinese tourists:

"America dominates the cruise industry. Carnival, Royal Carribean and Norwegian Cruise Line, which control nearly 80% of the global market between them, are based there. Just over half of the 26m people who went on a cruise in 2018 were American, reckons Cruise Market Watch, a data-provider."
Perhaps if travelers -- especially Americans who dominate the cruise industry -- actually heard authentic voices speaking from inside the lagoon they might think twice before about taking a cruise to Venice unless a satisfactory solution is found. The film should be ready before the end of summer.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat Bauer
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

This post first appeared on Venetian Cat Bauer - The Venice, please read the originial post: here

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Venice and the Cruise Ships


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