After a long and heated debate, the local council voted in December to remove the locks. But Rome’s powerful mayor, Alemanno, intervened, calling Giacomini to ask for a delay. Then, without informing Giacomini, Alemanno announced a peace summit at the bridge in January, where he hoped Giacomini and Moccia, who was deeply opposed to the removal, could work things out.
Testy exchanges ensued. Making a pun on Moccia’s bestselling book “Three Meters Above the Sky,” Giacomini responded like so when asked by reporters where the locks should go: “Three meters under the bridge.”
Ultimately, a compromise appeared to be reached. On the banks of the river, close to but not on the bridge, Giacomini proposed a “Romeo and Juliet” balcony with romantic lighting that could be erected to house locks old and new. But as months dragged on, Giacomini saw no movement by the city to make good on the deal. So he took matters into his hands. On the morning of Sept. 10, he donned his sash of local office and grabbed a pair of metal cutters.
“Enough is enough,” he said.
‘This cruel decision’
Since then, a debate has simmered, from the local papers to the espresso bars. Should the story have ended with the score Giacomini 1, Love 0? It is especially jolting, many here say, because after an equally fierce debate in Paris, the French opted to keep the padlocks of love buldging over the Seine on the Pont des Arts.
“My rational side listens and agrees, but something inside me remembers the troubled teenager, the feeling of high school love,” the Italian novelist Marco Lodoli wrote in La Repubblica. He continued, “I can’t tell what, but something puts me with the crowd of the padlockers who are deluded by this cruel decision.”
Now being kept in a “safe and secret location” in Rome, a few of the locks may soon go on temporary exhibit at a museum. The fate of the rest remains unclear.
That does not necessarily trouble the likes of Nicola Misciano, a 22-year-old economics major who affixed a padlock to the bridge with his girlfriend late last year. “She is more upset than I am,” he said during a recent evening on the bridge. “It meant a lot to her, so it did mean a lot to me. But let’s face it — they were pretty ugly.”
Edward Cody in Paris contributed to this report.