Verona is, among other things, the setting to one of the most famous love stories of all time.
Hoards of hopeless romantics (including me…yep, I went too) flock to La Casa de Giulietta to see the balcony where the most epic of love scenes took place. (You know….the ‘O Romeo Romeo, where for art thou Romeo’ scene). The balcony has actually only been around since 1936 but that doesn’t seem to bother the flocks of love struck couples taking photos of each other beneath it. For 6 euros you can go inside the house and out onto the balcony to recite your own declarations.
Once you have seen the balcony that the fictitious characters never stood on, you can then stick your chewed up gum on the wall and write your own personalized love tag. Nothing is more romantic than used chewing gum. Nothing. If writing love notes on Trident isn’t your thing, you can also write a note on paper and then just use someone else’s gum to attach it to the wall.
A statue of adolescent Juliet stands below the balcony forever bronzed in time. If you have gone all the way to see the backdrop to Romeo and Juliet, you might as well rub Juliet’s breast while you are there. It’s for luck! Although, I’m not sure Juliet is the right person to be passing along luck -hers kind of took a turn for the worse. Oh, and only the right breast. Obviously only the right one is lucky.
All sarcasm aside (ok, MOST sarcasm aside), Verona is a beautiful place and there is an certain pleasant nostalgia that comes from wandering around a city that was part of such an age-old tale.
When visiting Juliet’s house, take your imagination, love for Shakespearean literature and softie romantic side with you and you will love it. Alternatively if you happen to be a smarty pants, then you will probably get a kick out of poking fun at all the contradictions and kitsch. Either way, a good time will be had by all (even the grumpiest among us will enjoy complaining about the crowds and cheesy souvenirs).
Casa di Giulietta is in the center of Verona at Via Capello 23. Entry is free.
Apart from Juliet’s courtyard, there is an official club that accepts (and answers) letters on her behalf. Serving as a sort of ‘affairs of the heart’ advice service, volunteers from all walks of life answer thousands of letters from those seeking romantic guidance. The “Club di Giulietta (Juliet Club)” receives around six thousand letters a year from all over the world, in different languages. Each one is responded to, written by hand. (They are looking for trainee letter writers by the way.)
Many of the letters are from young people, some with serious love problems who might not have anyone else to reach out to.
Receiving a letter back from ‘Juliet’ might just be the thing that makes someone feel a little less heartsick. I know I still get a little thrill whenever I see a handwritten letter in the mail! There is just something about old fashioned correspondence…
If you want to drop Miss Capulet a line, send your letter to:
Club di Giulietta
via Galilei 3 – 37133
The 2010 film ‘Letters to Juliet‘ is based around the Juliet Club.