The great advantage to a road trip is the freedom to stop off at places that might otherwise be overlooked when traveling by plane, train, or bus. So when we went camping at Tramonti di Sopra with our new Croatian friend Manuela and she raved about Makarska, we added it to our itinerary. As we arrived in town, we didn’t know we’d find a little paradise at Sveti Petar.
At first glance, Makarska was what I expected Split to be like. We hit the first traffic of our road trip as we came into the city. Parking was hard to come by and the waterfront promenade was swarming with people. So we grabbed a quick lunch at one of the cafes lining the promenade that promised free wifi and cheap pizza. As we sat eating our pizza and people watching, we noticed a couple people climbing up to a statue on the far right of the horseshoe shaped bay.
We wandered to the end of the promenade and found a set of stone stairs that led up and began our climb. The remnants of an old fort invited us to the wooded path leading up to the 15th century chapel of Sveti Petar, where we had stunning views over the Adriatic. Following the wooded paths around the peninsula, we came to the Sveti Petar lighthouse which looks out over the Makarska Riviera and toward some the the hidden coves we passed on our drive (more to come on that soon). Continuing in a loop around the peninsula, we followed the forested path back up toward the chapel and veered to the left. The path opened to revel the 15th century statue of Sveti Petar watching over a fence covered in love locks, the azure sea glistening beyond.
Love locks started appearing in Europe in the 2000′s after the Italian book I Want You by Federico Moccia inspired the love locks to start appearing on the Ponte Milvio in Rome. But the love locks can even be traced as far back as WWII when a local Serbian schoolmistress named Nada, who was from Vrnjačka Banja, fell in love with a Serbian officer named Relja. They committed to each other and locked a lock with their names on it to the Most Ljubavi bridge before he went off to war in Greece.
The love locks are controversial in some cities like Paris, France and Florence, Italy where city councils say they raise problems for the preservation of our architectural heritage. But not at Sveti Petar. A shack deemed the Love Lock sells the locks and encourages lovers to write their names and a special date on them before affixing the lock to the fence and tossing the key into the sea below, forever securing their love.
Have you locked your love to a bridge or fence anywhere around the world?