Boninovo – a place of eternal love or the beginnings of an eyesore?

On a trip to Dubrovnik in June 2013 we stopped, somewhat bemused, at a wire fence covered with locked padlocks. On closer inspection the padlocks had been written-on or scratched or engraved with the names or initials of people and usually a date.

After some head-scratching we left none the wiser but later embarked on some research which revealed that what we’d seen was the early stages of a spectacle already happening in many other locations around the world.

Boninovo, about a kilometre outside of Dubrovnik Old Town, sits 35m above the Adriatic coast and this particular location, so the story goes, has been famous for people committing suicide by throwing themselves over the edge. The local council has fairly recently erected a 3m-high wire fence to prevent the suicides whilst not obstructing the beautiful view.

Padlock in Boninovo, Dubrovnik

In February 2012 padlocks began appearing locked to the wire fence by lovers as a mark of affection for each other; their eternal love sealed by throwing the keys into the sea. This romantic ritual was happening mostly overnight with more and more padlocks appearing as the weeks passed.

The idea is said to have originated in Italy, taken from an Italian Novel in 2006. Wikipedia claims the idea dates long before that in China but, whatever its origin, it seems that fences, bridges, walls and fountains around the world are being adorned with padlock as the trend continues to grow.

At the time of writing there have been love-lock sightings in: Austria, China, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland‎, France‎, Germany, Hungary, Italy‎, Latvia‎, Lithuania, New Zealand‎, Poland‎, Russia‎, Serbia‎ , Slovenia, , South Korea‎, Spain‎, Sweden, Taiwan‎, Ukraine‎, Uraguay and the United States‎!

Will the padlocks stay and be left forever to rust as the iconic symbol of eternal love makes its way around the world? Possibly not.

Apparently, City workers in Italy cut down the 5000+ padlocks adorning the Ponte Milvio bridge on Sept 10th 2012 for fear of the damage they could cause so it’s possible other Cities will follow suit if the craze continues.

Personally I think it’s a charming show of affection. Did I add to the collection in Boninovo? Maybe ;-}