Posted on 10/30/2015 | About Venice, Italy

A black and white photo exhibit by Italian photographer Gianni Berengo Gardin focuses on the city of Venice. The controversial exhibit of thirty pieces shows the daily passage of large cruise ships going through the lagoon city. The Italian Environmental Fund hopes that the images will show people that cruise ships are putting Venice “in peril.” 

The images show massive, populated liners dwarfing the arches and domes of the city’s architecture passing by Piazza San Marco and through the Giudecca canal. "These photos are like a punch in the stomach but they will help people to understand how serious the problem is," said Giulia Maria Crespi, the honorary president of the Italian Environment Fund. “The giant cruise ships that come to Venice are a disgrace and the city needs to be saved,” she said.

“All Venetians and all Italians should see these photos to realise how the big ships are putting in peril Venice, a jewel of humanity.” Venice’s new conservative mayor was opposed to the exhibit ensuring that it not take place in the city administered Doge’s Palace. It is being held at St Mark’s Square. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said they gave a distorted image of the cruise ship industry; an industry that provides employment to thousands of Italians.

For years the number of visitors to the city has been of concern. As the most popular cruise port in Europe, Venice welcomes 60,000 tourists a day, effectively doubling the population of 50,000. There has been a steady exodus of residents relocating to other parts of Italy. Venice's population has fallen by more than two-thirds in the past fifty years.

With 30 million visitors a year UNESCO warns that the volume of ships cause tides that erode the foundations of buildings and contribute to pollution. That's a disturbing warning to a UNESCO World Heritage site.