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Welcome to News From Italy, my blog about our Italian Adventure. Although this blog has now ceased publication I will be continuing to blog and I am sincerely hoping that my many followers here will move with me to Travel Tales blog to follow my next adventures wherever they may take me. The links to my other blogs are:-

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love Locks


During the 17C and 18C love locks were defined as a lock of hair hanging long and separate from the rest of one’s hair tied with ribbon and normally only worn by courtiers.  I have not been able to find out in my research if this was in any way connected with love of a sweetheart or just of their own hair!

In the 21C the term has taken on a completely new meaning as a custom that is spreading all over the world, although believed to have originated in China. I have seen photographs of examples as far afield as Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Uruguay and USA.

Padlocks are no longer just a way of keeping things secure but are now an item that loving couples decorate with their names, initials, messages and so on before attaching them to street furniture such as railings on bridges, fences or lamp posts and throwing away the key. This is a way of symbolising a couples undying love and also thought to bring good luck to the relationship.

Since living in Italy I have come across this symbolism a number of times but before I was writing News From Italy. There was a good example in Viterbo a few years ago, but it disappeared, I assume the structure they were attached to was in danger of collapse under the weight and that the authorities saw fit to remove them.

When we were in Bolsena with friends from the UK for a stroll back in September we came across some Love Locks, they had never seen any before so were fascinated.

I thought it would be interesting to feature them in a post for News From Italy and I look forward to hearing about other examples of this custom that you have seen around the world.

As it happens to be Wednesday and these are outdoor photos I am also participating in Outdoor Wednesday.

Outdoor Wednesday button[5]Welcome to ‘News From Italy’ to the other participants, thankyou for calling by.



Photos of padlocks at top of post are courtesy of Google Images, other research done online was mainly from Wikipedia, the other photos are my own Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection


  1. The most famous place in Italy where this is done, it's Ponte Milvio in Rome.
    Nice post.

  2. Great post! I did not do this when I was in Italy (as my name would be the only one on the lock!) but my sister did put her and her boyfriends's name on a padlock a few years back when she was in Venice...now they've been married for almost 3 years! :)

  3. Alessandra is right, they have become famous thanks to a movie from the books of the writer Federico Moccia("Scusa ma ti chiamo amore"). They're a nice form of modern art, but I think also they're a shame for our wonderful art heritage.
    I saw some padlocks in Florence and probably they are also in Venice, but I prefer to not see them :)
    I'll e-mail you a couple of pictures later

  4. I have never seen or heard of this before (but then I've never been to Italy). So interesting!
    Happy Outdoor Wednesday

  5. What a lovely idea. Thank you for sharing

  6. I've never seen this done before. I love it...so sweet. It takes carving your names into a tree into a entirely new direction. I am beginning to feel as if you are my teacher! Thanks:)

  7. Hi LindyLou. This is a very interesting post. I am finding it really surprising that I have never ever heard of Love Locks before. How strange! It's certainly a lovely idea.

    I have joined Outdoor Wednesday by the way. I still can't figure out how to join Sunday Song!

  8. I've seen examples of this before. I think it's pretty interesting.

  9. Where other than PARIS ... Pont des Arts ... this is not my post but Peters ... ..


    There used to be thousands and then the council or someone decided to take them down , but now they are starting to go back up.

  10. Hi Linda,
    last time we were in Viterbo (about6 weeks ago) we saw a few locks in the vicinity of the Papal Palace.
    Wish I could just zip over and check to see if they are still there :) (no weather comments today:>)

  11. Wow this is amazing. Just wonder who owns this locks and to where they put it before. Very interesting shot!
    Outdoor Wednesday

  12. Hi Linda, we've seen examples in Florence and Verona. I love the idea!

  13. Linda, I have never heard of this before. I wonder if it is all twenty something year olds?

  14. Salut Linda, like Anne said, the bridge in Paris... It's such a romantic idea, I love it. Now I just have to find one (or create one) in London ;-)

    Sorry for not having replied to your (comment-reply) emails. I don't know where you find the time to reply to each comment, I really appreciate it and think it's fantastic, thank you. Hope you have a lovely week, Love from (pretty cold and rubbish) London x

  15. Interesting, though I have not seen them here in the States yet. Soon.

  16. I had no idea! Thanks for the post and the pictures. Happy Outdoor Wednesday :)

  17. Wow, that IS fascinating. No, I've never seen this before, at least on the West Coast. Of course, I don't get out too much! :) Thanks, as always, for a very interesting post.

  18. I love this idea! So romantic and endearing! I have never heard of this and will look it up - my daughter will love this!
    Thank you for sharing!

  19. Carol - Yes I have seen them in that vicinity before, I think what happens is that when it gets out of hand and the structure chosen is under threat of damage that the commune come along and remove them all. So the cycle starts all over again. It is a sweet idea but sadly can cause damage as I have seen in some of the photos I discovered when I was doing my research.

    Kim - I think locals and tourists alike place these padlocks from what I have discovered. Thankyou for calling by from Outdoor Wednesday and commenting.

    Caroline - Yes a nice idea, but unfortunately it does seem to get out of hand and cause damage sometimes.

    Debby - I am glad you enjoyed the post, thankyou for calling by from Outdoor Wednesday.

  20. Hey lovely,
    Thank you so much for your comment on my blog!
    I loved you post and you know what? - I saw a whole bunch of padlocks on a lamp post in Verona a couple of months ago. I was really touched. They looked so beautiful, each had an inscription... I took a few pictures and will post them soon on my blog. - can I link my post back to yours? Do you mind?
    Lots of love from Lisbon.

  21. That is lots of locks! I wonder what they are for..

  22. Yes, I've seen some attached to our proud new suspension bridge. I've been wanting to get a shot, but I'm never there at the right time of day for some interesting light. Must try harder.

  23. Joana - I would be delighted for you to link up with News From Italy when you do your post on love padlocks.

    Icy BC - They are to seal your undying love for each other as a couple.

  24. Hi LLM,

    The first I ever heard of/saw this was actually last Nov in Cinque Terre- in between Manarola and Riomaggore- in the love tunnel.. I wrote about it here: http://nosvacances4ever2.blogspot.com/2009/11/lock-in-your-love-in-town-of-love.html
    And, of course, in Paris... where Anne mentioned...

  25. I have seen them in Italy only!
    I think it was in Firenze, close to the Ponte Vechio.

  26. They're all over Florence...esp. the bridges. Travelling there with students, one of the Grade 6 boys said that he wanted one. When I asked who his 'love' was, he said, 'Inter. [the football team] I want to lock my love for Inter.'

  27. Some Birds - I have no idea how old gtrade sixth grade boys are but he must really LOVE his football!

  28. He's about 11 years old and eternally devoted. :)


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