Pressure has been building to divert the ships from the central Giudecca canal and St Mark's Basin after environmentalists raised concerns over their damaging effect on the already-fragile tourist destination.
The commission approved digging a new canal so ships can enter the lagoon from the west, avoiding the historic centre, reports ABC News. The Venice Port, which campaigned successfully to preserve the existing passenger terminal, estimates the project will take two years to complete.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, said in a statement: "Finally the trend towards gigantic ships in the lagoon has been turned around.
"We've had enough of these mega cruise ships just metres away from San Marco, from now on there will be clear limits on the size of ships that can enter Venice."
From January 2014, cruise ship traffic in front of the Piazza San Marco will be limited and cut by 20 per cent from 2012 levels.
From November 2014, ships over 96,000 tonnes will be banned completely from Venice.
A committee of citizens opposed to the cruise ship traffic in Venice called the ship diversion "a first victory for our movement," according to Yahoo News. But, the group added, it will now campaign on the environmental impact of the new canal, which they described as "devastating."
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