They have been blamed for damaging the city’s delicate foundations and blighting its famous skyline.
Now, after a decades-long battle, residents in Venice have succeeded in getting cruise ships banned from docking there.
The Italian government yesterday announced it would begin re-routing the liners away from the historic city centre.
The decision comes after a cruise ship collided with a small tourist boat along one of Venice’s canals in June.
MSC Opera crashed into the quayside of the Giudecca Canal after injuring five passengers on the smaller vessel.
The same month another cruise liner narrowly missed ploughing into a canal-side restaurant.
The incidents provoked resentful Venetians to take to the water to protest in a fleet of small boats.
The city’s population of 55,000 claims the ships are threatening to overwhelm them, dropping off an estimated 30,000 visitors during the peak summer months.
Of the 60,000 tourists who descend on Venice each day, less than half stay the night.
Venice – once known as La Serenissima, or the Serene One – has also suffered damage to its ancient wooden foundations from the bow waves of the enormous ships.
Italy’s minister of transport Danilo Toninelli said the cruise ships would gradually be moved away from current routes, the Financial Times reported.
By next year the plan is for a third to berth at ports well away from the city, such as the Fusina and Lombardia terminals three miles away across the lagoon on the Italian mainland.
Mr Toninelli said he had been looking for a solution ‘to avoid witnessing more invasions of the Giudecca by these floating palaces, with the scandals and risks that they bring’.
In future the liners will dock at a new location, possibly outside the lagoon, to be decided on by public consultation.