Those darn love locks

The locks are still thick on many of the bridges in Venice, especially on the Accademia Bridge. I saw the police bail up a vendor one day, but he was back, bright and sassy, the very next.

For those of you who don’t know, love locks are attachedย by sweethearts to a public fixture, such as a bridge. They throw away the key (in Venice, this means into a canal running under that bridge), to symbolise unbreakable love.

It’s becoming a problem in many cities around the world, and is treated as littering or vandalism. The locks rust, and cause damage to the bridges, and they’re expensive/difficult to remove.

(Just put “love locks on bridges venice” in your search engine to see the scope of the problem in just one small city. Eliminate “venice” in your search to see how widespread this custom has become.)

Right, a long preamble to lead up to this photo of a love lock on a bridge in a quiet part of the Giudecca, where not many tourists tend to roam.


The sentiment is splendid, but how I wish they had chosen another way to express their undying love.

You came in like a thief, bloomed in my heart like a red rose.
You light up my life like the sun.
I can’t get enough of you. I love you



Filed under Venice

39 responses to “Those darn love locks

  1. Caroline

    At least we can be thankful that nowhere in Venice looks like this yet!

    I hadn’t realised how bad it had got there.


  2. I sincerely hope not, Caroline! ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Caroline

    Yvonne, I have just noticed a lock has appeared on our local bridge!! I hope this has nothing to do with you moving into the neighbourhood ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Son of Sharecroppers

    Great photo. The sentiment on the lock: saccharine.


  5. Probably all started by a lock manufacturer. ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. I hear someone collects them and sell them to the foundry to raise fund for the homeless in Venice. I guess even he can’t catch up with the unending supplies.


  7. PS I hope your weather improves soon. The 10 day forecast shows a bit of sun a week from tomorrow.
    I certainly lucked out with the month of December….unlike the year before with the below zero C temps.


  8. During the end of my trip probably sometime in the last few days of December someone had placed a lock on the Ponti de l’Arco. A very out of the way bridge that you hardly ever see anyone on. They must have searched and searched to find a bridge without one.
    Luckily there were none on the Ponti dei Scudi during my stay….although there was a beggar there for a day or so. …I’m sure he got tired of being ignored by the locals. And at least he wasn’t selling locks!


  9. MaryK

    The locks on the Accademia Bridge are the most prolific in Venice – but they do seem to be creeping onto other bridges as well. Fortunately I’ve not seen any of the vendors as I’m not sure if I wouldn’t be tempted to tip them into the canal.

    On our recent trip to Salzburg I was really shocked to see shops near the bridges and fountains actually selling red locks complete with texta pen…. hopefully that little ‘retail opportunity’ doesn’t spread.


    • I was thinking today that the lock vendors probably do the best of all the street salesmen!

      Yesterday was just a tease, weatherwise, eh? I hope the tennis players (in Paris) have some long johns. :-0


  10. hungryhungryhippo404

    When I initially saw it, I thought how sweet! But it would be a pain if you have all these locks littered around the place. And I know its a bit snobby of me, but that lock isn’t the prettiest thing to look at (although the words are lovely). Julia ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Hi, Julia! Can you think of any other similar craze that has swept the world??


      • hungryhungryhippo404

        The only thing that comes to mind is graffiti. While there’s a lot of graffiti that is wonderful and brings cheer and colour to an area, I’m thinking more of tagging where the individuals just do it so they can have their name on a wall. Sigh.


  11. Hi Yvonne ๐Ÿ˜€ So furry handcuffs wouldn’t last long then ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ralph xox ๐Ÿ˜€


  12. Caroline

    As part of the maintenance on the Accademia Bridge, the comune is talking about making it ‘lock-proof’ – but as you say, Yvonne, we’ll see.

    I try to avoid walking that way as it annoys me so much. In the summer there’d be up to 4 or 5 lock-sellers, and they’ve got much more open – at first they were just sidling up to couples looking at locks, and furtively half-pulling a bunch of locks out of their pockets; but then gradually progressed to standing round displaying them openly. Occasionally there’ll be a piece in the paper where the police crow about another “successful” clampdown – with a handful of locks confiscated & paltry fines imposed.

    And it will be reported that all the vendors (of locks & all the other crap) were found to have valid permessi di soggiorno. I don’t understand this: presumably they weren’t given p.d.s. on the understanding they had jobs as illegal vendors, so why can’t the permits be revoked when it’s found that’s what they are doing? Especially when what they are selling damages the city.

    I just try to smile about the implication for these deluded people’s eternal love when the locks are cut off & sent off to be melted down…


  13. Andrew

    They throw the keys into the Canalasso too. Can you imagine how many are on the bottom waiting to get churned up into some engine? I hate to see them and even more seeing the idiots buying the locks from the street vendors. It should be fairly easy to get rid of points on the bridge where they can be fastened. But that leaves all the wrought iron bridges in Venice fair game.


  14. Yvonne,
    when you posted the picture of the manifestazione I almost didn’t recognize the spot. Finally! It’s been how many years, six, eight? I’ve lost track.
    I hope they remove all those padlocks, even if temporarily, when they do maintenance on the Accademia bridge.


  15. If I were the object of such undying devotion I would much rather be told face to face, second choice a lovely penned letter or third choice email.
    Do not put a lock on any bridge in my honor….PLEASE!
    PS…you could also post it anonymously on my blog if you like.


  16. I wonder if their love has become as rusty as the padlock. Just the cynic in me talking.


    • Interesting Yvonne.. Another interesting piece of information you have shone a light on. Hmmm..someone needs to invent a different product that’s environmentally safe.
      After reading the other responses they are alot more realistic ! Lol.


    • You and me both, Daniel. I can feel my blood pressure rising as I walk across the Accademia Bridge and see the busy little lock seller. Growl.

      Oh, wait until you see the huge new area opened at the Accademia, Daniel. The wraps are finally off the part theyโ€™re been restoring for such a long time.


  17. I understand that it began when it was written about in a novel set in Rome. But, other sources mention an origin before World War II, in Serbia!


  18. And WHY do people feel they need to shout it from the rooftops and everywhere else? Does anyone else, besides the two lovebirds, really care?


  19. Pat

    How on earth did this get started? When I was in Russia there was one place where the city had put up special “trees” near a bridge for people to put locks there instead. Of course both the bridge and the “trees” were loaded with locks.


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