Boninovo – a place of eternal love or the beginnings of an eyesore?
Boninovo, a small village about a kilometre outside of Dubrovnik Old Town, sits 35m above the Adriatic coast. Whilst walking from Lapad towards the Old Town, we stopped at a wire fence adorned with locked padlocks looped through the chain-link wire fencing.
On closer inspection the padlocks scratched-into, engraved or had been written-on with the names or initials of people, and usually a date.
Having not come across this anywhere previously, and after some serious head-scratching, we left none the wiser, but later embarked on some research to find out what it was all about. It transpired that our discovery was, in fact, the early stages of a spectacle already occurring in many other locations around the world.
This particular location, on the corner of two roads with a near vertical drop beyond the fencing was, so the story goes, famous for people love-sick people committing suicide by throwing themselves over the edge!
As this is clearly not an acceptable situation, the local council erected a 3m-high wire fence to prevent further suicides and, soon after, padlocks began appearing locked to the wire fence, left by lovers as a mark of affection for each other; with their eternal devotion to each other further 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 padlocks 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.
City workers in Italy cut-off the 5000+ padlocks attached the Ponte Milvio bridge for fear of the damage they could cause, so it’s possible other Cities will follow suit.
Did we add to the collection in Boninovo? Maybe.