Over the weekend, actress Sophia Loren was challenged by environmentalists trying to stop a new cruise ship – named in her honor – from ever entering the Venice lagoon. The group is concerned of the potential damage that ships cause to the city and the pristine ecosystem.
Loren christened the MSC Divina in May in France; the massive luxury liner can carry up to 4,500 people – including 1,000 crewmembers. The Divina has a first-class suite named after Loren which is decorated with large pictures of the Oscar-winning actress at various stages of her film career.
The No Big Ships Venice Committee has made public statements complaining that Loren, who is revered worldwide and especially in Italy, would want her name associated with a vessel which is contributing to the city’s destruction. They have begged that the actress give up her title as ‘godmother’ of the ship. Reuters reports that a handful of protesters held up a banner that read "No Big Ships" as the Divina passed by St Mark's Square on Saturday.
Since the Costa Concordia shipwreck, many environmentalists have intensified their efforts in banning large ships from the lagoon. That disaster put the public eye on the Venice lagoon, which is known as Italy's most delicate maritime area. Large cruise ships frequently enter the area to drop off passengers close to the historic center and the Grand Canal.
Pleas to Loren include reasons like the ships pollute the air and their vibrations/waves affect the foundations of Venice’s historical sites. Italia Nostra (Our Italy), the country's leading conservation group has also long been opposing the entry of large cruise ships into the lagoon, according to Reuters.