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08/30/2011 04:59 pm ET | Updated Oct 30, 2011

Venice's 'Love Locks' Trend Faces Crackdown (PHOTOS)

Pairs of star-crossed lovers expressing their undying affection in one of the world's romantic cities might soon be facing legal action.

As Spiegel is reporting, the trend of attaching "love locks" to the city's many bridges is damaging the historic structures, and many Venice officials are calling for urgent action. Allegedly inspired by Federico Moccia's 2006 novel I Want You, the craze involves couples wring their names on a padlock, swearing eternal love and throwing the key sinto the canal.

Among the most sensitive of the lovers' targets is the wooden Ponte del Accademia, where about 300 padlocks are now fixed, as well as 16th century Rialto, known as a symbol of the city. "It's against the law and the rust from the locks risks damaging the stone," Stefania Battaggia, the head of Venice's Office for Urban Quality, tells The Guardian. "We have found 50 of them on metal stanchions but have yet to nab anyone while they are in the act."

Critics of the trend are reportedly calling for fines of 3,000 euros and up to a year in jail for offenders. Still, the popularity of the phenomenon means it's questionable whether city sanctions will have an impact. Bridges, gates, lampposts and even trees covered in padlocks can be found in Rome, Cologne and Riga, among other world cities, despite earlier clean-up campaigns.

View photos of Venice's "love locks" here:

Love Padlocks