April 20, 2009

‘Love locks’ removed from Rome church

Thousands of padlocks bearing the initials of lovers were removed Monday from the rails of a church facing Rome's Trevi Fountain, workmen said.

The two workmen used bolt cutters to remove the locks and said the items were destined for the trash dump, ANSA reported Monday.

The custom of young couples marking love locks with dates and their initials was inspired by the 2003 book and film, Three Meters above the Sky, ANSA said. Emulating the protagonists of the story, young couples began attaching their marked padlocks to a lamp post on the Milvian Bridge and throwing the keys into the Tiber river.

The tradition moved to the church rails after the lamp post nearly collapsed from the weight of the locks.

The workmen said the order to remove the locks came from the parish priest of the church, which is dedicated to Saints Vincent and Anastasius.

There were too many locks, and in any case this is a place of prayer, one of the workmen said.

However, enthusiasts have moved to keep the tradition alive with a Web site that allows couples to put their initials on a virtual lock and throw the key into a virtual Trevi, ANSA said.