The Venice Municipal Administration, the Piazza San Marco Association and Costa Cruises have introduced “Viviamo la città - sei in piazza San Marco” (“Let’s live the town - You’re in Piazza San Marco”), a project to improve the quality and preservation of Piazza San Marco and the surrounding area, which represent one of the most famous and evocative monumental sites anywhere in the world.

The aim of the project is to raise awareness about using Piazza San Marco in an appropriate and sustainable way, involving first and foremost the local residents and tourists who enjoy this unique location every day, with support in the form of planning and financial resources offered by the three institutional sponsors.

From May 14 to Sept. 30, 2012, from 10 am to 5 pm, in the area around Piazza San Marco, a team of eight hostesses and stewards will be available to provide information about how to respect and protect this monumental site, about municipal rules of civilized behavior and about the best possible use of public and private services. The team will be multilingual, so to properly interact with tourists of all nationalities. Hostesses and stewards will also inform Metropolitan Police Headquarters of any violations of municipal rules they discover when on duty.

According to Costa, it should be remembered that public conduct in Piazza San Marco, and the entire municipal area, is governed by General Police Regulations and any fines are issued in the first instance by the Metropolitan Police. These regulations clarify that in Piazza San Marco, along the porticos and the steps outside the Procuratie Nuove, and in their continuation to Ala Napoleonica and the Libreria Sansoviniana, in Piazzetta Leoncini, under the Palazzo Ducale Portico, in Piazzetta San Marco and on the pier, it is forbidden to sit outside the areas specifically provided for this purpose. It is in any case forbidden to stop to consume food or drinks, except in the areas granted for use by cafes and restaurants, or to dispose of or abandon paper, jars, bottles and any type of solid or liquid waste on public land. It is forbidden to feed the pigeons.

The Piazza San Marco Association – said its Chairman Alberto Nardi - is committed to raising the awareness of Local and National Administrations, Supranational Bodies and public opinion about protecting the cultural values and the historical, artistic and architectural standing of the Piazza San Marco area, in particular, and Venice in general. This work is carried on in a relaxed way, but also with clarity and decision, mindful of the aim of adopting a proactive, pragmatic and constructive approach and of not being seen as merely a protest group. To this end the Association encourages and organizes social and cultural initiatives that are aligned with the mission enshrined in the bylaws. The Association was established in 1992 by a group of Piazza San Marco traders and then extended to numerous city residents (both natives of Venice and others) who shared its aims.

This is just one of multiple initiatives identified and supported by the Association to protect the Piazza, and it intends to establish a prototype for constructive collaboration between different entities which share the goal of solving one of the problems affecting the Piazza, particularly during summer. This is when there is an unchecked and uncheckable flow of thousands of tourists of different nationalities, cultures, age and social standing, arriving as individuals or in organized groups both large and small. The Piazza is huge, but surrounded by buildings, and its very architecture induces visitors to “spend time in the Piazza” and “make themselves at home”. Which is exactly what they do, appropriating spaces to rest and lie down in the shade, to eat sandwiches or have a refreshing drink. All at the expense of urban decorum, using the Piazza in an appropriate way, and a recognition of what the site represents in terms of history and art. Well, this project intends to contribute to eliminating the negative aspects in all this.”

 “Venice is one of the cities we are most fond of, and one of our cruise guests’ favourites” – commented Gianni Onorato, Costa Cruises President. “Which is why we want to offer our concrete contribution to the preservation of this monumental site that symbolizes the city, on a joint basis with the local authorities and institutions. Our company has always played an active role in environmental protection and voluntarily proposes initiatives that go beyond the limits imposed by law - he continued -. In Venice we were one of the first, in 2007, to endorse Venice Blue Flag, the agreement to use low sulphur fuel in the city area. Furthermore, in the framework of continuous improvement and respect for the environment, our flagships Costa Fascinosa and her sistership Costa Favolosa, both built at Marghera, which will be calling in Venice throughout the summer 2012 season, are ready for fitting with the so-called ‘cold ironing’ system, which allows the engines to be shut down when in the ship is in port and to connect to the shore electricity supply if necessary”.