Thousands of ‘love locks’ fixed to an ancient bridge in Rome, the Italian capital, have been cut off to save the structure from damage. For years teenage lovers have written their initials on the love locks and attach them to the bridge. They have then sworn eternal love for each other and thrown the key into the Tiber river below. The habit has also become popular at other bridges around the world, particularly in Paris.
The love lock idea was first inspired by characters in the 2006 Italian teenage novel I want you, written by Federico Moccia. In the book, a young couple places a bicycle lock around a lamp post on the Milvian bridge and throws the key into the Tiber. The famous bridge was first built in 206 BC and is one of the oldest in Rome. It was the scene of an important Roman battle in AD 312.
In 2007 a lamp post on the ancient bridge almost collapsed under the weight of the love locks and special posts were put up for them. But last month officials said that enough was enough. “We decided to remove the love locks to restore the decorum of the bridge,” said the local area president, Gianni Giacomini. Since the habit started, the residential neighbourhood has become a busy centre for late-night bars and city officials said that 86% of local people wanted the locks to go. They promised to give the love locks a place in a Rome museum and said they would create a spot near the bridge where locks could be left in the future.
“The bridge will be guarded day and night to stop more locks being attached,” said local public official Stefano Erbaggi. However, Federico Moccia is unhappy about the move. “The removal of the locks is inconsiderate,” he told the newspaper La Repubblica. “Rome is giving Paris the ‘bridge of love’ tradition which was born here and should stay here.”
I.- Answer questions 1-4 according to the information given in the text. WRITE COMPLETE SENTENCES USING YOUR OWN WORDS WHENEVER POSSIBLE. DO NOT COPY FROM THE TEXT (4 marks)
- 1. Why have love locks been cut off from a bridge in Rome?
- Love locks have been cut off because the elements of the bridge to which they were fixed could be damaged. (p. 1)
- 2. Who inspired the love locks idea?
- The idea was inspired by the couple who appears in a famous novel written by Federico Moccia. (p. 2)
- 3. Why did the authorities finally decide to remove the locks last month?
- The authorities made the decision of removing the locks in order to return the appropriate image of the bridge and of the residential neighbourhood. (p. 3)
- 4. Where will love locks be left in the future?
- 1. The love locks are not in the Milvian bridge now.
- This sentences is true. The text states that last month officials “decided to remove the love locks to restore the decorum of the bridge.” (p 3, lines 3-4).
- 2. Federico Moccia is pleased about the removal of the love locks.
III.- Find the words or expressions in the text that mean (1 mark)
- 1. a tendency or disposition to act in a particular way: habit (p.1, l. 5)
- 2. fell down suddenly: collapsed (p. 3, l. 1)
- 3. a district where people live: neighbourhood (p.3, l.5)
- 4. lacking in care or thought for others; thoughtless: inconsiderate (p.4, l.3)
IV.- Write a composition of about 130 words on one of these topics. Specify your option (3 marks)
- 1. Do you know of any famous places that need protection from the public? If so, which are those places and why do you think they need special protection?
- 2. There are romantic traditions all over the world by which couples express their love. St. Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular. What is your opinion about those celebrations?