One of the problems that global communication has created is that fads explode internationally in relatively little time, whereas once they might have blown over in one small neighbourhood before the rest of the world ever took notice.
Take the craze for love-locks. Supposedly having its roots in a Serbian romance turned sour in the Great War, it was rarely seen in the years that followed. Then at the turn of the millennium it gathered momentum with bridges in Paris, Rome, New York, Florence and more buried under the weight of unwanted metalwork. The urban myths proliferate about this being a great tradition, particularly on the Pont des Arts in Paris, despite the fact that the first lock wasn’t placed there until 2008. Six years later and the parapet has begun to collapse under the weight.
Being wooden, the Ponte dell’Accademia has neither the strength, nor thankfully many suitable fixing points, to allow this practice. It hasn’t stopped people completely though.
- Paris Falls Out of Love With the Padlocks on Its Bridges (rss.nytimes.com)
- Should love by symbolised by a lock? (BBC News)