Rome’s Padlocks of Love Removed
words by Carol King
Roman officials have taken bolt cutters to the thousands of padlocks that have adorned the city’s Ponte Milvio bridge in order to save the ancient structure from damage.
Couples have been attaching so-called ‘love padlocks’ inscribed with their names to the bridge since 2006. The lovers then threw the keys into the River Tiber below. The padlocks symbolise the locking of lovers’ hearts, acting as a sign of their eternal love.
The ritual was inspired by the book ‘Ho voglia di te’ (I Want You) published in 2006 by Italian writer and director Federico Moccia, which was adapted into a film, ‘Tengo ganas de ti’, by Spanish director Fernando González Molina earlier this year. A hit among teenagers, the novel led youngsters to attach padlocks to bridges across Italy from the Ponte di Rialto in Venice to Ponte Umbertino in Siracusa, Sicily.
The city council’s actions in Rome are in response to locals’ desire to see the bridge restored to its former glory and state of decorum, as well as concerns that the weight of the padlocks may harm the bridge that dates to 115 BC. Nor will the love padlocks be tolerated in the future as Rome’s mayor Gianni Alemanno told Italian media: “They will be removed periodically.”
However all is not lost for Rome’s amorous youth because there are is talk of moving the love padlocks to a museum in the city.