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Florence cuts through 'padlocks of love'

April 30, 2006 at 10:23 AM

FLORENCE, Italy, April 30 (UPI) -- Florence is trying to lock the door on the tradition of attaching a lock to the Italy's famous Ponte Vecchio, or "old bridge", as a symbol of undying love.

For more than a decade, lovers who came to the oldest bridge in Florence have attached a padlock to the rails then thrown the key into the river.

Grumpy council officials are trying to put a stop to the tradition to keep the unsightly clusters of metal from disfiguring a monument to the artist Benvenuto Cellini, ANSA reported.

"As well as the aesthetic problem, these locks scratch and dent the metal," said cultural affairs chief Simone Siliani.

A team of metal cutters spent the winter removing the 5,500 locks that had accumulated on the bridge. The work of removing the "padlocks of love" took so long because workmen had to battle against a never-ending flow of loving couples who headed straight for the bridge after arriving Florence, Siliani said.

Police have been told to slap to $62 fine on anyone who tries to attach to lock.

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