By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Bridge of Love: Thousands of padlocks have been hung on bridges by romantic couples throughout Europe after the craze began on Rome's Tiber bridge
Lovers have a tradition of marking their affection in unusual ways, from carving initials in trees to tying knots in ropes. Now, a new craze is threatening Italy’s landmarks — and causing a boom in bolt-cutter sales.
Couples have taken to sealing their devotion by writing both their names on a padlock, fixing it to a bridge, then tossing the keys into the river.
The fad began in Rome after the publication of the best-selling 2007 novel Ho Voglia De Te (I Want You) by Federico Moccia, which sees the main characters swear eternal love by attaching a padlock to Rome’s Milvio bridge before flinging the keys into the Tiber.
Locked in: A couple add their padlock to hundreds of others on a bridge over the river Tiber in Rome
This has led to the bridge’s lampposts becoming so festooned with locks that they nearly gave way.
The craze has since spread to Venice, where the Rialto bridge is the favoured spot, and Verona, where locks have been affixed to the house where Romeo supposedly first seduced Juliet.
A front-page editorial by Italian newspaper La Repubblica has denounced the passionate perpetrators, calling for hefty fines and even jail terms.
Who said romance was dead?
Public art: Passers-by observe the eclectic display of padlocks at the Archeveche bridge in Paris
Inspiration: The fad began in Rome after the publication of the best-selling 2007 novel Ho Voglia De Te (I Want You) by Federico Moccia
According to legend couples must seal their devotion by writing both their names on a padlock, before fixing it to a bridge and tossing the keys into the river
Declaration: A person throws the key of a padlock into the River Seine
Taking heart: Called 'Liebesschloesser (love padlocks) in Germany, where a heart-shaped chain is fixed on a fence at the Hohenzollernbruecke bridge in Cologne, and right, padlocks in Paris