Padlocks Of Love Removed From Bridge In Rome

Officials 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]

Padlocks on the Ponte Milivio: Symbol of True Love, or Public Nuisance?

Every week, teenage couples from all over Italy travel to Rome’s oldest bridge — Ponte Milvio — write their names on a padlock, clip it to a chain wrapped around the bridge’s lampposts, and throw the keys into the Tiber. This fad has become so popular, in fact, that it has been immortalized in I Want You, a romantic novel that’s just been made into a film.

Some politicians are demanding the locks be removed. Not only are the lampposts cluttered, but they fear the release of the film will mean even more padlocks will appear. One politician, Massimo Denaro, is suggesting that a new structure be built next to the bridge to hold all the padlocks. Hilariously, Denaro’s opponents are accusing him of being “anti-romance.”

It isn’t just the politicians, though, who are harshing on love. Last week, some of the chains and padlocks were found smashed on the ground. Only a few remained at the top of one of the lampposts, which led police to assert that the person(s) responsible must have either been “very short” or “afraid of climbing on the balustrade to get all the chains.”

[Via Archaeology in Europe; Photo: Mjilla]