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]
Travel guidebooks conceive of the world as a series of obvious, important monuments. This is particularly true of a brash and magnificent city like Rome. Your typical traveler could be forgiven for simplifying this complex historic capital down to a giant marble stadium, a series of famous steps and giant chapel mural. But writer David Downie reminds us there’s a lot more to Rome than its monuments. In fact, Downie argues, Rome is a city best savored through its secret places: the sensual and contemplative spaces unknown to the average visitor.
In his new book, Quiet Corners of Rome, Downie (a Gadling contributor) treats us to an insider’s tour of over 60 of Rome’s hidden spaces based on years of exploration. What he reveals is a city that is not about grand monuments, but instead the spaces in between: quiet courtyards punctuated by burbling fountains and the fresh scent of pine, the distant vibration of church bells in a shady courtyard and ancient stone plazas bedecked with intricate architectural details. Each sight is accompanied by a serene photo taken by photographer Alison Harris. It’s less a tourist guide than a dictionary of intimate discoveries and pleasant surprises – a sprawling, overwhelming city made personable, particular and specific.
Looking for a guide to Rome’s greatest and grandest sights? This is not that book. What Quiet Corners of Rome accomplishes however, is something altogether more authentic. It’s a highly personal, approachable and enjoyable way experience one of our favorite places as it was meant to be experienced: by cherishing every hidden nook and secret city view.