It started out as a romantic ritual in Rome inspired by Federico Moccia’s recent book, Ho Voglio di Te. Lovers scrawled their names on locks and clipped them to chains attached to Rome’s Ponte Milvio, then tossed the keys into the Tiber.
Now the bridge is clotted with locks and chains. Officials are doing everything they can to alleviate the stress. Tourists come to see them. Imagine, the eighth wonder of the world, locks and chains under a bridge where the location’s reputation for bare naked debauchery wasn’t enough to make it worthy of our respect. Now there are annotated locks. Can life get any better?
It wasn’t all locks and debauchery under that bridge, remember. Constantine defeated his rival Maxentius at the Ponte Milvio. That’s when he saw in the skies above a flaming cross inscribed with the words “in this sign thou shall conquer.” According to legend, he converted to Christianity because of the momentous event. Maybe his rather strong mother had a tiny bit to do with the whole thing, I dunno. Constantine is a Saint in Sardinia, where L’Ardia di San Costantino is run commemorating the battle. It’s a dangerous horse race. People die.
Locks and chains, along with death and war a sign of our times. It wasn’t so long ago that these appurtenances were frowned upon in polite company. You didn’t sign up willingly to have locks and chains as part of your couture unless you were a disenchanted youth with a chip on your shoulder and maybe you were going off to war.
And this locks thing is spreading. To other bridges in Rome. To a bridge in the village of Pontremoli in northern Tuscany. That’s where the picture was taken.
Love is forever. Like those locks. Well, not TSA locks. Those little things you’re supposed to protect your luggage with are a disappointing one night stand with a one-legged midget flim-flam artist on crack. Love breaks your heart. So does stolen stuff outta your checked luggage.