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?
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!
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.
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.
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?