Venice is trying to discourage couples from attaching padlocks to the city's bridges as a symbol of love, claiming the old structures are too fragile to cope with the weight.
"It is important to make people understand that it is not a sweet gesture, the expression of a unique sentiment, but an action that is totally banal," writer Alberto Toso Fei tells the Gazzetta del Sud. He is behind a campaign called Unlock Your Love, which is distributing flyers in the famous Rialto, San Marco and Accademia areas. "Your love doesn't need chains," the leaflet says under a drawing of a heart-shaped open padlock. It also points out: "Venice doesn't need your garbage."
It's the second time Venice has tried to crack down on love locks. In 2011, the city focussed on people who sold the locks, but this time the campaign is targeting the couples using them. Meanwhile, workmen are removing some 20,000 padlocks from the wooden bridge, Ponte dell'Accademia, spanning the Grand Canal.
Love locks have grown into a global trend, with cities such as Paris and Sydney also trying to tackle the problem. Chicago has been systematically cutting off padlocks to stop them falling off and hurting someone when the city's moveable bridges are lifted for boat traffic, a local news website reports.
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