This summer has seen the rise of a romantic new urban legend involving one of Romes oldest bridges, Ponte Milvio.

Lovers of all ages and nationalities are choosing to pledge their undying love by fastening a chain with a small padlock onto one of the bridges lamp-posts. The couples name is written on the lock and the keys are thrown into the river Tiber in a modern-day spell to ensure that the two will be together forever.

The original lampost of love is now so filled with hundreds of such eternal bonds that lovesick couples have had to start on a new lamp-post.

This romantic ritual uses the symbolism of the lock and bridge to represent the merging of two worlds. Added to this, of course, is the sentimental allegory of pledging eternal love in the eternal city.

Local shopkeepers have been inondated with queries on where to buy padlocks. So far, authorities have not intervened.

Ponte Milvio was built in AD 109 and was a key route into the capital. As such, it was the site of fierce battles in ancient Rome a far cry from the wistful love-pledging it is used for today.