We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Lovers Locks in Venice - Bye, Bye

Last night I had the priviledge to join a group of local Venetians as they cut locks off the famous Rialto bridge, and about 10 other nearby smaller bridges. A European tradition of couples putting a lock on a bridge and throwing the key into the bridge to signify an everlasting love has become much more popular in Venice over the last year or so- aided by some entrepreneurial immigrants who have taken to selling locks on the Accademia bridge! They even carry a permanent marker with them to make it so easy for you to write your names and the date on the lock before you clamp it onto a historic monument.

While in theory this sounds very cute, in practice this is not good for the bridges and monuments the locks are being attached to. They rust, causing more rust and damage to the structures they are appended to. Venice is a city protected by Unesco, therefore everything, yes, everything, is a historic monument.  Therefore, putting locks on monuments is actually an act of vandalism, not to mention a real lack of respect for a city like Venice.

In effort to clean up Venice, several groups of citizens have formed Facebook pages as a method to organize activities to clean graffitti-ed walls and remove locks.  A few months ago when the bunch had a painting day in Campo San Barnaba, I was not able to participate. When this lock cutting blitz was announced, I made sure I was present and accounted for. I'm an Italian citizen and a registered resident of Venice. This is my city too. It's important to me to not only show support by my words, but also by my actions.

Here's an video of last night's activities on Rialto... have a look.

Those bolt cutters required quite a bit of muscle. While I wished I could have wielded one myself, and was quite tempted to go buy one that afternoon, I settled for holding a bag to hold the cut off locks and encouraging the brave lock cutters!  Stay tuned for the next blitz!

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