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#UNLOCKYOURLOVE: Venetians taking their city’s problems into their own hands…

After one of the most trying tourist seasons today’s generations of Venetians can remember, a grassroots group—tired of visitors using the city of Venice, Italy, like a beach, a picnic area or more crassly as an outdoor toilet. Yes this is happening in Venice, too—is saying basta! Enough of the abuse their spectacular town, a U.N.E.S.C.O. World Heritage site, has been forced to succumb to.

With former Mayor Giorgio Orsoni under house arrest on corruption charges, and an appointed commission of administrators handling things until elections can be organized, Venice and her problems have been abandoned by those who are elected and paid to have her wellbeing close to heart. Now, #UNLOCKYOURLOVE, the grassroots movement headed by Alberto Toso Fei—author and guardian of all things cultural—is striking out with a campaign against the unsightly and damaging metal locks which pollute Venice’s centuries old bridges, gates and window grills.

What started out as a week-long event and campaign is picking up steam faster than a Venetian vaporetto, and has, now, received the support of many attending the Venice Film Festival, too. Film personalities, Italian Prince Carlo Giovanelli and Italy’s Cultural Minister Dario Franceschini have posed for photographs while holding the campaign card: UNLOCK YOUR LOVE. While these dignitaries are doing their part to promote this good cause and enjoy fine movies and entertainment, volunteers are manning themselves with bolt cutters and stripping Venice of these hideous locks.

Though the movement is bringing much needed awareness, this grave problem won’t disappear until officials from the local and national governments put their foot down, and insist that love locks are not welcome anywhere in Italy, and then put a stop to it. That endeavor could easily start with the local police, Vigili Urbani, who for some reason seem to refuse to interfere with the illegal lock sellers who stand at the bottom of the city’s main bridges and sell locks—earning tax-free euros—to tourists who either don’t know their actions are unacceptable, or just don’t care. I ask: where are Venice’s 400 or so Vigili Urbani? Why aren’t they doing their part? And why, when a citizen calls the local Vigili Urbani station to report the abuse, do they simply say (as reported on the #UNLOCKYOURLOVE Facebook page): I’ll make a note of it.

Better yet, what can we, lovers of Venice, do? The answer to this question is simple. We can spread the word. Today, social networks do more for getting the word out than any national or local television or news network. You can help by copying the #UNLOCKYOURLOVE logo, using the hashtag and sharing this cause with your friends and followers. Help us inform and educate people, and eliminate the use of love locks. Share, and take back Venice and her bridges. Return this magnificent beauty to the world—unlocked, the way she was intended to be.


You can follow Marie Ohanesian Nardin on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ItalytoLosAngelesandBa... or on her blog at
Marie is working on getting her first novel “Beneath the Lion’s Wings” published soon.

Photographs taken at the Venice Film Festival by Silvana Di Puorto.
All other photos and logo by Alberto Toso Fei.

Published August 28th, 2014 by MARIE OHANESIAN NARDIN
Posted to Travel Blog

1 Comment


I just read that officials in Paris have announced a "trial experiment" to replace bridge panels loaded up with padlocks (that averaged about 500kg for each panel) with glass. Full story: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/21/world/europe/paris-falls-out-of-love-with-the-padlocks-on-its-bridges.html?_r=0

An interesting solution. I look forward to seeing how this all plays out. <b>Insiders</b> - what is your opinion on the love locks?

Posted September 22nd, 2014

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