‘Dear Prime Minister, dear Minister,
‘Having prevailed against flood, pestilence, and war for more than thirteen centuries, Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic, and unparalleled UNESCO Word Heritage site, now, in a moment of relative tranquility, finds herself mortally threatened by the daily transit of gargantuan ocean liners, indifferent to the probable risk of catastrophe.
‘Since the flood of 1966, Italy and countless Italian and international supporters have contributed to the defense of the world’s most fragile city, eternally subject to destruction.
‘The absolute lack of respect presented by the outlandish spectacle of the ongoing obstruction and potentially destruction, of one of humanity’s pre-eminent monuments is not only dumbfounding but both morally and culturally unacceptable.
‘We urgently request an immediate and irrevocable halt to the traffic of the Big Ships in front of San Marco and along the Giudecca Canal putting an end to this senseless devastation.’
Thus read a petition signed by a group of celebrities including Cate Blanchett, Michael Caine and Michael Douglas that was submitted to the Italian government during the same summer that I shot the Serenade of the Seas preparing to negotiate the Giudecca channel.