"" Writer's Wanderings: Cinque Terre, Italy - Via dell'Amore

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Cinque Terre, Italy - Via dell'Amore

The path between Manarola and Riomaggiore is called the Via dell’Amore, the way or path of love. It is a short 20 minute easy walk between the two towns and is quite popular especially among those who want to ceremoniously “lock” their hearts together forever. Along the way wherever there is a chain fence, wire mesh holding back the stones from falling, or just a metal fence there are hundreds of locks hanging.

Some of the locks have names etched into them. Others just have a fancy design. Still others came from the local hardware store. The meaning is clear. Lock your love in place and throw the key away (or as was explained in the gift shop that sold them, each can take a key). Whatever symbolism you may want to attach to it is yours to interpret. The surprising thing we learned however is that it is a world wide practice among young people that is spreading.

The locked hearts idea apparently started in China and has spread to many other areas of the world. It became more popular in Italy when Federico Moccia wrote two novels that contained a romantic ritual involving the padlocks.

While it was all quite intriguing, I couldn’t help but smile at the one who left a combination lock. There’s a hidden meaning there, I’m sure.

The end of the Via dell’Amore for us was Riomaggiore. The southern most town of the five in the Cinque Terre. We spent some time wandering the streets and soaking up the atmosphere of old Italy. This is a town that could have inspired many an artist’s brush. Muted, weathered-colored walls broken by shuttered windows and old wooden doors at the top of narrow stone steps. Of course it was all softened by fresh laundry hung from windows and gently drying in a slight ocean breeze. Picture perfect.
That evening, perhaps because of our walk on the Via dell'Amore, I saw this wonderful couple out for an evening stroll and waiting for the sunset. It seemed a fitting end to a lovely day.
Ah, romance is ageless.

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