Rome mayor in 'love padlock' row

Posted Mar 1, 2007 by Carolyn E. Price

Every year thousands of modern day Romeo and Juliets from all over the world come to the Ponte Milvio looking for eternal love by placing a lock around a lamp post and throwing the key in the Tiber River.
Rome's left-wing Mayor Walter Veltroni is fighting with the right-wing opposition over padlocks that are left by lovers on a bridge in the city. He has introduced a 50-euro fine for anyone leaving a padlock on a lamp post on the Ponte Milvio, over the Tiber river.
The opposition, Forza Italia and the National Alliance the two main right-wing parties, are accusing Mayor Veltroni of "trampling on lovers' rights".
The love padlock craze started when the romantic rite was mentioned in two novels by Federico Moccia, Tre Metri sopra il Cielo (Three metres above the sky) and Ho Voglia di Te (I Desire You). The books, published in 1992 and 2006, are cult novels for young Italian lovers.
According to the urban legend, lovers will spend their lives together if they write their names on a padlock and place it on the Ponte Milvio's third lamp post, coming from Corso Francia, then throw the key in the Tiber.
A spokesman for the mayor's office said that city hall is not against the love padlock custom, but they want it moved to an alternate location. The Ponte Milvio bridge is one of the oldest monuments in the Italian capital and it is the site of a famous battle between Massenzio and Constantine, two pretenders for the title of Roman emperor, on 28 October 312.
In the meantime, amorous couples everywhere must wait to see whether love will triumph over politics.