Padlocks Of Love Removed From Bridge In Rome

RomeOfficials in Rome have removed the so-called “padlocks of love” from the famous Ponte Milvio, the BBC reports. This is the latest phase of an ongoing struggle between the city and romantic couples that we’ve been reporting on since 2007.

It all started when Italian novelist Frederico Moccia wrote “I Want You,” in which a couple put a bicycle lock around the bridge’s lamppost and tossed the key into the Tiber as a symbol of their undying love. It soon became a fad and the locks became so heavy they actually broke the lamppost. After that people started putting locks all over the bridge.

The bridge was built over the Tiber River in 115 B.C. and was the site of the famous Battle of Milvian Bridge, in which the Emperor Constantine defeated his rival Maxentius to take over Rome, a move that was the beginning of the end of paganism.

Officials say rust from the locks is damaging the historic bridge. Putting a lock on the bridge carries a 50 euro ($51) fine. This is the second time the city has removed the locks. It probably won’t be the last.

Putting locks on landmarks has become a trend in other spots as well. Near where I live in Santander, northern Spain, couples do this on a railing by a cliff overlooking the sea. Is there a similar custom in your local area? Tell us in the comments section!

[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Coral Castle: Testament To A Broken Heart


Almost a hundred years ago in southern Florida, a heartbroken man accomplished something incredible.

Edward Leedskalnin was an immigrant from Latvia. He moved to Florida in 1918 hoping to cure his tuberculosis. But it wasn’t only his lungs that were sick; his heart was sick too. When he was 26 back in Latvia, so the story goes, he had been engaged to Agnes Scuffs, ten years his junior. His “Sweet Sixteen” jilted him the day before the wedding and poor Ed never recovered. He immigrated first to Canada, then the United States, working various jobs before making it to Florida. He never got over his lost love and never married.

That heartbreak led to an obsession.

Over the course of 28 years, he excavated more than 1,000 tons of bedrock and constructed a weird fantasyland of towers, sculptures and furniture out of massive stone blocks. The result was Coral Castle. Hints of his lost love can been found all over, such as the heart-shaped table and the stone cradle that’s so well balanced it can rock. There are stranger objects too, like an elaborate sundial and a tube through which you can see the North Star.

%Gallery-159645%Leedskalnin usually worked at night and didn’t let people watch him. This created an air of mystery around it and led to claims that he used magical forces to build the castle. After all, people asked, how could a 5-foot-tall tubercular man move such massive stones? Actually Leedskalnin came from a family of stone masons and used this knowledge to make his amazing creations. A few photographs show him using devices such as a block and tackle to move the stones.

Coral Castle isn’t a castle and it isn’t made of coral. In fact it’s made of oolitic limestone, but that doesn’t sound nearly as romantic. Not that it matters, the whole place is romantic. While the object of Leedskalnin’s love never came to Coral Castle despite many invitations, countless other people have visited and been inspired. Billy Idol wrote his song “Sweet Sixteen” about the story and exploitation director Doris Wishman filmed her bizarre “Nude on the Moon” there. Hit the link to see the trailer for this 1961 nudie cutie, but be warned it’s not work safe.

Coral Castle is in Homestead, Florida, and is open every day of the week. Check out the gallery to see some of the amazing monuments Leedskalnin made to his lost love. Also check out our article on Mystery Hill, an equally strange place in New Hampshire.

Photo Of The Day: Locks Of Love

photo of the day - love locks in Paris
Today’s Photo of the Day was taken on Paris‘ Pont des Arts bridge, where it is tradition to write your name and your lover’s on a padlock and attach it to the railing to symbolize your unbreakable bond. It’s a tradition popular all over the world, from Florence to Taiwan (check out Gadling’s gallery from Cologne, Germany. Over the years, many cities have tried to remove the locks or limit new additions, but true love prevails and it remains a fun way to leave a symbol of your beloved. Thanks to Flickr’s Luke Robinson for the photo, we hope some of that lovey doveyness followed you home from France!

Seen any sweet traditions on your travels? Add your photos to the Gadling Flickr pool for our Photo of the Day.

Study Shows Travel Can Increase Your Sex Appeal

girls According to a study done by Intrepid Travel using the online dating site RSVP.com.au, people who travel a lot are seen as more attractive than their non-traveling counterparts. The study found that daring travelers are seen as the sexiest, while 23 percent say adrenaline seekers make their heart race. Moreover, off-the-beaten-path travelers were most attractive to 22 percent, while culture buffs got 16 percent of the votes.

Says Intrepid spokeswoman Jo Stewart, “The attitudes of singles show that a bi-product of travel is that it adds to your sex appeal.”

The study also looked at the behavior of single travelers. Data showed that 96 percent of singles who were passionate about traveling, were also looking for a partner with the same interests. Many single travelers – 72 percent – also dream of meeting someone special on their trips. Ever fantasized about a romantic picnic in Tuscany? Twenty-six percent responded this was their perfect first date, with a sentimental stroll in Paris being their second.

[image via permanently scatterbrained]

Video: Finding Love In Iran


When people think of Iran, dating isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. It’s a conservative country with a strict form of Islamic law. Natural urges are unconquerable, though, and young people will always find a way to hook up. This video from Alessio Rastani describes how the young and well-off find love in Tehran, Iran’s capital. Rastani talks with his cousins, who live there, about how to go about it and what Iranian women are looking for in a man.

This is nothing new. When I was in university back in the ’90s, one of my friends was an Iranian woman studying in the U.S. She told me that when she was in a girls’ high school, guys would hang out in front of the gate at the end of the day and throw little balled up pieces of paper onto the ground with their phone numbers on them. If you liked the guy, you picked up the piece of paper and called.

She was strictly Muslim, so talking was all she did. She liked one guy enough that she got permission for him to come over. After a few visits, her parents left them alone together. The first time this happened they sat together and talked for a couple of hours. After he left, her mother came out from the next room and said she’d been listening the whole time and was proud that she had been a good girl. My friend replied, “What did you expect me to do!?”

For her, you could be a good Muslim and still have fun.

Check out Rastani’s YouTube channel, HelloIranTV, for more great videos about life in Iran.