377ft superyacht Luna is ruining the views over St Mark's Basin, claim angry Venetians

Reports surfaced on the weekend that Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea FC, has been upsetting Venetians by parking his enormous 377ft superyacht Luna in St Mark’s Basin, ruining views over the water for locals.

The Russian oligarch and his girlfriend, Dasha Zhukova, arrived in the city last week for the Venice Biennale, run every two years and one of the leading contemporary art festivals in the world. But instead of being welcomed with open arms, Abramovich and his party have been the subject of some negative press.

The city’s mayor, Giorgio Orsoni, was reported by the Guardian as saying: “The boats are getting too big and blocking the view. These yachts are showing up to Venice for free, but St Mark’s Basin is being turned into a motorway and we have to start limiting the traffic.” Orsoni is now said to be considering a tax on visiting vessels like Luna.

Meanwhile, local businessman Marco Paolini called the yacht’s presence “idiotic”. “There are so many beautiful places here, why do these people have to bring their houses with them?” he told the newspaper.

Perhaps unfairly, Luna, which reputedly cost £115 million to build, has become the focus of a wider debate about the increasing amounts of big ship traffic in the already bustling waterways of Venice.

A popular cruise destination, the city saw the arrival of more than 1.6 million cruise passengers last year. When the big ships travel slowly through the city on their way to the main passenger terminal, windows are said to shake and foundations groan.

But however much they complain about the presence of these big boats, the locals can be thankful for one thing – at least Abramovich didn’t turn up with his other boat, Eclipse, which dwarfs Luna at a whopping 536ft.

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