The trend was prompted in 2006 by Federico Moccia's book "I Need You", in which a young couple write their names on a padlock, attach it to a lamppost and throw the key into a river to pledge eternal devotion.
He had no idea what he had started. Now there are millions of love locks in cities all over the world from Italy to Korea, China and Japan, and city officials are hopping mad at having to remove them all.
Signore Moccia* himself however has no regrets and thinks all the love locks are great. "The padlocks are a symbol of love and something to be proud of" he says. "Better a padlock than graffiti disfiguring the walls."
I don't agree with him. The love locks are spoiling the beautiful things they're attached to. All three bridges in Venice are festooned with them and they're just pointless clutter.
There are plenty of ways of showing your love for someone that don't degrade famous landmarks. And what if the couple's pledge of devotion turns sour but the padlock's still there, marking their false hopes?
To me it's simply another example of a mindless trend that people take up without thinking of the consequences of what they're doing. It's not just an amusing gesture, it's a blot on the landscape.
Call me a crusty old fuddy-duddy if you like, but I prefer the Ponte di Rialto as it was and not draped with sentimental bric-a-brac.
* pronounced Motcher. The Italian title is "Ho voglia di te".
Pic: love locks in Huangshan, China