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Padlocks on Italy's Bridges

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Padlocks have taken over Italy’s bridges! Inspired by the novel I Want You by Federico Moccia, couples have begun writing their names on padlocks, promising eternal love, and throwing the keys into the water. What seems as a harmless display of love and affection has been the cause of outcry for some Italians.

Italian police officers are cracking down on those who wish to place locks on bridges, especially along Venice’s Rialto, a particularly sensitive target. The rust from the love padlocks can damage the stone of the bridges. For this reason, it’s illegal to attach locks to bridges, and police have been doing their best to clean up Italy’s bridges using bolt cutters.

The trend of affixing padlocks to bridges began in Rome, but has since spread to other parts of Italy, Europe and even Asia. Despite the uproar, including a front page editorial denouncing the practice in La Repubblica, author Moccia defends the phenomenon, explaining that it’s better that teenagers use locks instead of graffiti. Maybe if the phenomenon spreads to the U.S., “lucchetto” (padlock) will become a part of the English language, just like “graffiti.”

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