We are at the beginning of 2006, when in Italy comes the fashion, for lovers, to affix a padlock to a lamppost on the Milvia Bridge in Rome. Not for nothing, the Milvian Bridge is one of the most renowned area for Roman youth nightlife, being a meeting place and entertainment venues.
Probably those who are not Italian won’t know the novel “Ho voglia di te” (I want you) by Federico Moccia, the following of the first novel titled “Tre metri sopra il cielo” (Three meters above the sky) of 2004, from which there were also produced two films, very followed by young people. It all starts here, with the scene in which Step and Gin, the young and in love characters of the novel, walking on the Milvia Bridge, at the third streetlamp attach a padlock, then throwing the keys into the river, as a symbol of their eternal love.
For some years there has been the custom for many young lovers to put a padlock on the lamp and throw the keys into the Tiber, in imitation of the film. In July 2007, after the collapse of the lamps, due to the excessive weight given the enormous quantity of padlocks, the City of Rome has installed, adjacent to each lamp, some pillars on which have been attached appropriate chains to which people can attach their padlock. It did not take long and fashion became a craze that has plagued many Italian cities and then also other nations. The “locks of love” were hanging everywhere, Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the Ponte delle Grazie, the Colle della Maddalena in Turin, on the gate of the house of Romeo and Juliet in Verona, on the promenade of Via Caracciolo in Naples. But we find them also in Portugal, Russia, Hungary, Germany, Japan, Ukraine and who knows where else in the world.
This practice, widespread among teenagers especially (but not only), has always provoked the protests of those who think that the locks spoil the monuments and the architectural heritage of Italian cities.
Therefore, the lock of love by Federico Moccia also became the center of attention of the international media.
El Mundo, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, are just some of the newspapers that examined the phenomenon.
El Mundo calls it “an eyesore”, where the romance ends the trouble for local government begin; The Guardian compares the hype generated by Moccia saga with the Twilight cult status: the actor Scamarcio (Italian film’s main character) is the Italian teen idol, just as it became the vampire Edward for American teenagers. A success, said the British newspaper, which exploded in the face of criticism.
Today the spotlight is on the new French craze to hang padlocks on the bridge of the Seine. The Bridge on the River Seine, in front of Notre Dame in Paris, trying to emulate the not so enviable record of the Milvian Bridge in Rome, where abound “locks of love”. Lovers, in the par excellence romantic city, swear to love each other, which supposing to be forever, leave a padlock attached to the railings of the bridge: everyone brings a written incision with the fateful names. The new Parisian fashion fits in the wake of Rome, where in the past the locks have become a model. For us, it just is history or a legend.