Eternal 'love locks' removed from Rome bridge

Milvian Bridge cleared of couples' padlocks

Eternal 'love locks' removed from Rome bridge

(ANSA) - Rome, September 10 – The love of amorous couples in Rome may be eternal, but rusting steel and iron expressions of it were clipped with shears and carted away on Monday. Rome town council removed the 'love locks' from the city's famous Ponte Milvio (Milvian Bridge) following a lengthy row between those who wanted to clean up the bridge and opponents who have pushed for it to remain a shrine to eternal love. Lampposts along the bridge were covered with padlocks after the success of the romantic book and film, Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo (Three Metres Above The Sky) by author Federico Moccia. Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno announced in December the decision to remove the accumulation of locks with Moccia and Gianni Giacomini, president of Rome's 20th borough which the bridge belongs to. "We will put up a railing and block off the area with some street lamps. It will be beautiful," Alemanno said. "They will be removed periodically." Alemanno said this would be a good way to protect the city's cultural heritage while creating an area for a popular modern tradition for people who come from all over the world to express their love. "This is an historic bridge, one of the oldest in Rome and we need to respect that," he said. Giacomini had been pressing for the locks' removal for some time in a bid to beautify the area. After the release of the Italian film based on Moccia's book, young Romans started imitating the protagonists, writing their names on locks and attaching them to the lamp posts while throwing their keys into the river. For now the locks will be kept in a warehouse until the Cultural Assets Supervisory decides what to do with them. A leading consumer organisation, ADOC, called for a museum to be established as a conciliatory gesture to house the 'love locks' and enable young people to share the love stories. When the craze took off, romantic couples came from all over the world to immortalise the bridge or express their love vows. The trend dated back to a similar move to mount love locks on Florence's historic Ponte Vecchio until they were removed in 2007. The youth craze spread in 2008 when lovers began attaching locks to a church next to the Trevi Fountain until Rome officials stepped in and banned the practice.

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