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Italy, Love Locks, travel

Do We Really Have To Say Goodbye? Love Locks Rome.

Do we really have to say goodbye?  Love Locks Rome.

A symbol of love?  An eye sore?  What is to come of the symbol of undying love that has become a global phenomenon?

Love locks at the Ponte Milvio, Rome

My first encounter with love locks was in Prague – I was instantly hooked and I was not alone.  The locks have been appearing in cities around the globe, have been the fascination of millions as they seek out ways of declaring their love.  With locks firmly attached to bridges, the keys are thrown to the water below, locked for all time.  A grand gesture indeed.  Dramatic sites such as the love lock wall that has appeared in Dubrovnik, high above the Adriatic coast, are becoming popular, but who can argue with the romance of Rome!

Ponte Milvio, once a symbol of Rome’s military might, has also been a symbol of love in the Eternal City.  Found over the Tiber River, thousands have flocked here to make their declarations….but now the city is making hers.

I visited Rome for the first time in August 2012.  Rome was a dream…and I could hardly wait to visit her historic sites.  The colosseum, the Pantheon…the list goes on.  Included in that list…Ponte Milvio and her romantic wall of love.  They say there are over 5,000 locks that have been strung up on the bridge.  What more symbolic a location than a bridge that has stood for millennia!

Love Locks in Rome

Fears of damage to the bridge and cries of rusty locks doing damage to the historical landmark lead to debate…a debate that was apparently lost on September 10th…only a matter of weeks after my visit.  It was on this day that the locks, for the romantic – meant to be for an eternity, were unceremoniously removed from the bridge with bolt cutters.  It would have been a sad moment to watch the workers cut down the locks.  I am glad I was not there to witness it.

Removing the Love Locks from the Ponte Milvio.  Photo credit: Wanted in Rome

Removing the Love Locks from the Ponte Milvio. Photo credit: Wanted in Rome

Some say the locks are an eyesore…a jumble of rusting iron, and nothing more.  Apparently, in 2007, a lamp post collapsed under the weight of the locks.  But I still see it differently.  Perhaps I am caught up in the romantic notion of it all.  A public declaration of a commitment to one another.  It is out there for the world to see.  And why not…symbolism has been used for centuries.  We make day to day choices based on symbols and what they mean to us.  Is the deeper meaning of the love lock more important than the lock itself?  Do people not put thought into the act of love locks?  And what more fitting than Rome.  Rome herself is a symbol…an enduring symbol that has stood the test of time.  Is that not why we call her the “Enduring City”?  Like our love…she will endure.  But not so for the love locks placed on her bridge.

colourful declarations of love

I for one, am saddened by the way Rome has handled her love locks.  She has removed the declarations made by thousands who have flocked to this site.  I have my own Love Lock from Love Locks On Line that I hope to put up very soon…I am waiting for that special place…  Call me romantic, but I love the symbolism behind the love locks.  If it is romantic and symbolic…count me in!

Now the question remains…will Rome come up with a solution?  Is there a way to protect the historic bridge and pay tribute to what has become the shrine to love?  Perhaps love lock trees can be erected where lovers can come.  And what will become of the locks that have been removed?  According to a Wanted in Rome article, there is talk of an exhibit in a museum.  Do the officials of Rome see the Love Locks as a romantic gesture of our times, a modern day work of art, or as Giacomini (president of the local town council ) has said, nothing more than rusty iron?  You be the judge.  Should we have to say goodbye?

About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


22 thoughts on “Do We Really Have To Say Goodbye? Love Locks Rome.

  1. I have to agree – cannot another structure be used for the locks – lock trees, an artistic fence for the locks, etc. Have a Great One:)

    Posted by cravesadventure | December 12, 2012, 12:37 pm
    • I agree. I hope they find another solution. The locks are part of today’s society – in years to come it would be an interesting cultural study to look at the locks, the messages and dreams. I hope they find a new home.

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 13, 2012, 8:07 am
  2. I’m going for eyesore. I hate these things.

    Posted by Debra Kolkka | December 12, 2012, 5:59 pm
  3. Love this! There has to be a way. Someone will figure this out.

    Posted by Robin Lewis | December 12, 2012, 9:19 pm
  4. Why locks? Is it because everyone has an old lock in a drawer somewhere? I’m a major proponent of street art and public expression but I’m not sure how I feel about this. Isn’t this only one step away from someone carving their name into a tree or park bench?

    I definitely don’t see them as an eyesore but I also don’t understand the purpose behind them. Are they small monuments to love or are they just a place for someone to leave their mark?

    Posted by Posky | December 13, 2012, 4:12 pm
    • The locks are a small monument to love….a symbolic gesture where lovers lock their locks on fences or gates, throwing away the key. This is meant to symbolize their love, locked together for eternity.

      The popularity of the locks really came back to the forefront due to the Italian writer Federico Moccia’s novel “I Need You”, written in 2006. The young couple in Moccia’s book write their names on a padlock and attach it to a lamp post on Ponte Milvio, kiss and throw the keys into the River Tiber. The book is said to have reached cult status,…no doubt many have travelled to Ponte Milvio to fix their own love locks on the bridge due to the book.

      I would consider them to be a form of street art, but you could definitely consider it a form of public expression. The message is a positive one…one I personally prefer over the graffiti messages scribbled everywhere. A growing trend is to buy your love locks and have the names engraved into the lock…I have a lovely lock from Love Locks on Line and am waiting for the right moment.

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 14, 2012, 11:02 am
  5. I, too, like the symbolism, and love the idea of Love Locks trees. Hopefully the trees won’t mind the declarations of love. 🙂

    Posted by Robin | December 22, 2012, 1:38 pm
    • I hope they find a solution..the love lock trees would be perfect. No damage to the historic bridge, can be put up on terra firma and they can add more as needed! Perfect solution…and I am sure that they won’t mind the declarations of love!

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 22, 2012, 3:07 pm
  6. I spent a week in Cologne, Germany last month (January), and my friend told me that some people are considering removing the locks from the Hohenzollern (rail) Bridge, too, because of unbalanced weight concerns. I made sure to walk that bridge again, just to see what new locks were added since I was there last …

    Posted by fotoeins | February 11, 2013, 7:08 pm
    • That is so sad. The Cologne love locks are on my bucket list of love lock places to visit. I saw your photos from your Love Locks in Cologne post and knew I wanted to see them for myself! Fingers crossed that they find a solution!

      Posted by Anita Mac | February 11, 2013, 7:54 pm
  7. gosh lovelocks in Rome too!!?? this is a whole new world I am discovering! 🙂

    Posted by Our Adventure in Croatia | March 8, 2013, 8:45 am
  8. Hi, I’m planing a trip to Rome for my boyfriend. After researching for e place of love locks in Rome, I now know that they have been removed. But I wonder if there’s another place to bring them on yet or do the lovers in Rome just don’t have any possibility to show their love in a way like this? Does anyone know if there’s another place in Rome where love locks can be brought on? I’d really love this idea of ending our trip with a gesture like this… can anyone help?

    Posted by Melanie | May 15, 2013, 1:10 pm


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