Verona still feels like a Shakespearean town, strolling around the streets you can almost feel the romance in this “City of Love”. You can recall the main moments of the timeless and tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet in Verona. Even though William Shakespeare had set two plays here – The Two Gentlemen of Verona and the wonderful love story between Romeo and Juliet that the city is best known for, it is said that Shakespeare never visited. The city still considers itself the hometown of Romeo and Juliet, and there are several places you can relive the lovers’ story and Romance is always in the air in, Verona, the city of Romance!
Verona, City of Romance
We cannot know for certain if the two lovers Romeo and Juliet really existed, it is certain though that their families did. The Montagues and the Capulets were two important aristocratic families who lived in Verona. Dante, the famous Italian poet who wrote Divine comedy, was fleeing from Florence, found hospitality in Verona at the time in which the events are thought to have happened, under the rule Bartolomeo della Scala lord of Verona. In the Purgatorio, Dante wrote a few mysterious verses about the two families Montecchi and Capuleti (Montagues and Capulets).
The most famous spot is Juliet’s House. The building dates back to the 13th century and has the Capulet’s emblem on the external façade. A gate opens onto a covered space where lovers from all around the world leave their messages. The walls and panels are covered with writings, locks, notes and cards. Every year, thousands of letters addressed to Juliet Capulet arrive in Verona, where the volunteers of Juliet’s Club read them all and answer to each one of them in Juliet’s name. The powerful love between Romeo and Juliet continues to inspire and fascinate lovers all around the world.
A bronze statue of Juliet stands at its center of the courtyard, the legend says – hand on Juliet’s right breast will bring good luck in love.
The court is dominated by the famous balcony to Juliet’s bedroom, where lovers can visualize the exchange between Romeo and Juliet. These days it is a site for wedding photos, love proposals and hundreds paying homage to romance. The balcony was added during a restoration project around the 1930s, in order to recreate a medieval appearance.
The house is now a museum with fascinating frescos and artwork, and Juliet’s bedroom is furnished with the bed used in Franco Zeffirelli’s film Romeo e Giulietta, from 1968. There are love notes, locks and various tokens of love left by the visitors to Juliet’s house and around town. The romantic atmosphere of this place makes it one of the major attractions of the city of Verona.
Far less-known than Juliet’s house, but not far from it, is her lover’s home – Romeo’s House. The Montagues’ house is a majestic medieval building with a wide courtyard and colonnade, protected by a castellated brick wall. It is privately owned and is not open to the public.
The Piazza Bra gates, not far from the Arena, are considered the way Romeo took when he left Verona on exile saying the famous words:
“There is no world without Verona walls,
But purgatory, torture, hell itself.
Hence-banished is banish’d from the world,
And world’s exile is death.”
These famous verses by William Shakespeare are engraved on a marble inscription placed on the wall of Bra gates together with a bronze bust of the Bard.
A heart sculpture by the Arena. The Arena in Piazza Bra is hard to miss when you are wandering the Veronese streets. This Roman amphitheater is said to be older than the Colosseum in Rome but much smaller.
Tip: We were there during off-peak season and it was not crowded, expect hundreds of people in the courtyard during summer months. We went to Juliet’s house again after visiting the Christmas Markets, late one night(since our teen insisted) after the doors to the house was closed and the store next to Juliet’s house has private stairs and a balcony from which you can have a look into the courtyard. We took some pictures from here. The sweet ladies at the store just wanted us to spend 10 Euros at their shop, which we didn’t mind at all!
Address: Juliet’s House, via Cappello 23, Verona, Italy
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