Basta! Leave those Love Locks Alone! 

After setting the love locks’ tradition for a couple of years on one of Rome’s oldest bridges, authorities decided to remove the thousands of padlocks that symbolize eternal love. But if something can’t be stopped, that’s love, especially the enthusiasm and the force of young lovers.

So this tradition of showing love in Rome by sealing the lock and throwing away the key still continues today. But let’s start from the beginning.

What is a Love Lock?

A lock of love is a tradition that appears worldwide, from Italy and Europe, all the way to Uruguay and China. Young couples will express their love for each other by sealing the padlock, most often to the bridge, and throwing away the key (usually) into the river. 

Commonly, the couple will write down their initials or names and maybe add a date before locking their love and throwing away the key. This gesture symbolizes their eternal and unbreakable love.

Love locks on the bridge rail - The Proud Italian

Over the past 20 years, love locks, or as Italians call them, “Lucchetti d’amore,” have become incredibly popular worldwide, and authorities have started to see this romantic tradition, believe it or not, as a form of vandalism! But what’s the history and today’s situation with love locks in Italy?

The History of Lucchetti d’Amore

Since the 2000s, love locks started to appear rapidly in Rome and other places all over Italy. The reason was a famous movie based on the novel “Ho Voglia di Te” (“I Want You”) by Federico Moccia, released in 2007.

In one scene, a young couple declares their everlasting love in the most romantic way. They wrote their names on the padlock and attached it to the lamppost on the Ponte Milvio bridge. After locking the padlock and their hearts for each other, they throw away the key in the river of Tiber. Ponte Milvio, also known as the Milvian Bridge, is one of Rome’s oldest bridges built in 206 B.C., so it sets a perfect scenery for this romantic gesture.

Man and woman on romantic date sitting on the stairs with a bike with a basket of flowers - The Proud Italian

After that epic scene, couples from all corners of Rome came to this bridge to express their love in the same way. Soon the trend spread, even more, Ponte Milvio regained its glory, and “Lucchetti d’amore” became a tourist attraction. Even street vendors started to sell padlocks at this location.

In fact, love locks spread as a trend all over Italy. If you travel to Florence, you’ll find them hooked on one of the famous bridges in Florence, Ponte Vecchio. In the well-known location of Cinque Terre, there’s a place for love locks along cliffs of the Via dell’Amore (“Lover’s Lane”). They are attached to the place where lovers from two fishing villages, Riomaggiore and Manarola, used to meet. 

Florence and Cinque Terre are just a few examples of how much “Lucchetti d’amore” spread in Italy. Lovers that came to Verona, Venezia, and many other cities started to declare their love with love locks. 

Padlocks on rails in Cinque Terre, with sea in the background - The Proud Italian

Locking Your Love at Ponte Milvio Bridge

After becoming a great tradition for young couples and tourists to attach the locks of love to Ponte Milvio’s lamppost, it collapsed under the padlocks’ weight. Something had to be done to prevent further structural damage to the bridge. Unlike most Italian cities that weren’t so sentimental and applied high fines for anyone who tried to attach a padlock to famous sites, this wasn’t the case in Rome. 

Although they did start with a fine and removed the padlocks, they displayed all of them at City Hall. And if you’re in love and travel to Rome with your sweetheart, you can still visit Ponte Milvio and lock up your own “Lucchetto d’amore”! Rome has installed posts on the bridge where the lamppost stood once, so the tradition of love lock for lovers continues. 

Love locks on Ponte Milvio bridge - The Proud Italian

Summary

The story of love locks and how this tradition thrived even when it was banned in some sights in Italy is the perfect example of how love conquers all. 

When you visit Rome, you will see that there is something to be amazed about around every corner. Love locks on the Ponte Milvio are one of those sites, so be sure not to miss it out. A presto!

Go on, be a rebel in true Italian Style! We dare you! 

We would love to hear your love stories!