So is this one :
The guy in the first picture is selling padlocks for tourists to attach to the railings on the Accademia bridge. A victim of his own success, he's having to rearrange all the locks on that stretch as best he can in order to try and make room for a few more. He probably has a permesso di soggiorno, although it's unlikely that it says that he's in the country to make a living by defacing a national monument.
The man in the second picture is writing his name and that of his partner on a padlock. When this is done, he'll fix it to the bridge and throw the key into the Grand Canal as a symbol of their undying love.
It leaves wide stretches of the bridge looking like this :
This supposedly started in Rome some years back, inspired by the film Tre metri sopra il cielo, but now seems to be little more than a herd instinct encouraged by the abusivi on the bridge. This is tourism at its most stupid and ugly. It is no different, in essence, from spraying "West Ham is a Poof" on the wall of a pub toilet.
There has been a bit of vigilante action where local citizens have started trying to remove the locks by themselves. But it's laborious, difficult work and bolt-cutters are not easy to use - you can end up damaging both yourself and the structure. The responsibility should lie with the city itself. But what's the point in doing it if they'll just build up again within weeks?
There's the occasional clampdown by the police. A recent one was celebrated as if they'd succeeded in recovering a stolen Caravaggio instead of twenty-five padlocks. The deterrent effect of this lasted less than a day.
I don't know why this annoys me so much. Perhaps it's the thought that the chance to visit this city should be seen as being among the greatest experiences that life has to offer, and not just like a visit to a tacky theme park. The difference, of course, is that if you were to try anything like this in Disneyland Mickey Mouse would kick your arse within minutes.