Travel The World

Love on the Edge of Death

Roman Padlock

A new tradition in the heart of antiquity

Two years have catapulted by since I first glimpsed the love padlocks on Paris’ Pont des Arts. Since then, I’ve seen them everywhere, from windswept cliffs to Spanish steps, from industrial fences to bejewelled handcuffs that dance along the Hohenzollernbr├╝cke railway bridge.

But this afternoon, I found some on the walls of the Colosseum in Rome: labelled, locked and a little bit lost.

What kind of romance, I wondered as I took the photo, longs to claims the ridge that overlooks death? What kind of passion throws the keys into the maze of execution below?

Neither the stone nor the padlocks had an answer for me, of course, and as I strolled around the rest of this two thousand year old icon, I couldn’t find any more.

Perhaps there’s a reason why love on the edge of death just hasn’t caught on.

What do you think?

Roman Colosseum

Colosseum

, , ,

14 Responses to Love on the Edge of Death

  1. Margyle May 2, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    I love the colosseum despite other people ripping on it for being a tourist trap or being not as good as they thought… I would love to go back to it and will many times over, just because it is such an incredible building.
    I’m glad the locks haven’t caught on here because, I think it would really cheapen the experience. They look wicked sweet along the Seine or any number of the other places you find them… but maybe too it’s because the places with the locks generally seem to be free and public places?

    • Abi May 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

      Hm. Yes, it does feel as though you’re being “processed” when you visit the Colosseum. Then again, it IS such an incredible building, I agree with you – it’s completely worth it.

      It just didn’t feel romantic to me. It’s a place where people were executed and/or tortured to death.

      Perhaps it just takes all sorts to make up the world!

  2. Kieu May 2, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Its been 6 years for me. No locks then. I was afraid you’d show a picture of a fence full of locks. I’m glad it hasn’t caught on either. That would be tragic. Phew.

    • Abi May 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

      Hehe. You’re safe so far!

  3. carlo alberto May 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Having been living in Rome for more than 10 years, I can say the the Colosseum is not perceived as a place where people were executed or tortured.
    Romans, I mean nowadays romans, see it as a symbol of their history, not considering its real history. They think it was a place where people had fun, even in a brutal way.
    So difficult to say why that couple of lovers decided to lock in such a place.
    Maybe just because they do not know the history!

    • Abi May 25, 2012 at 12:38 am #

      I suppose that both are right – it was a place of fun and entertainment and a place of torture. But it’s also a symbol of Rome and Rome is (ahem) romantic so perhaps that’s what people are thinking? Who knows!

  4. Brock - Backpack With Brock May 17, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    Interesting that you didn’t see so many locks there. Maybe the Coliseum isn’t one of the more romantic places in Rome.

    • Abi May 25, 2012 at 12:52 am #

      I wonder what is…The Spanish Steps? Trevi Fountain? Somewhere more private..?

  5. BuzzInRome May 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    Touristy places are not considered particularly romantic by us Romans.

    An area with high concentration of romantic spots is the Aventine Hill with the Rose Garden, the Orange Trees garden and the view of St. Peters through the keyhole of Villa Malta.

    Another romantic place is the Pincio terrace, in Villa Borghese, overlooking Piazza del Popolo.

    Other romantic spots are the panoramic views of Janiculum hill from Piazza Garibaldi for instance, and the Zodiac, on top of Rome’s highest hill, Monte Mario.

    • Abi June 9, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      That’s it, then. I shall have to return for a spot or two of romance!

  6. Mark S May 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    We were there 3 years ago and the only place we found a lock was going onto the large viewing platform which looks down into the underground area. I was a little upset because I really wanted to see things a little closer and didn’t understand why this viewing platform would be closed. If you build something so people can have access to a better view then why not have it opened.

    • Abi June 9, 2012 at 8:54 am #

      Good question…But things are often a little like that around here!

  7. Puru August 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Are these locks some kind of totem which people place for a good luck in love ? I am not sure. They do things like that in my country..

    I am lucky to have stumbled upon your blog. So beautiful and serene :-)

Silver Footprint Ltd 6464260 Registered in England & Wales. All links are hand-checked and only included if they are both useful and relevant. Some may earn this website money. See the small print for more details. Profile on

css.php