“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”
Imagine Juliet standing on the balcony in a white dress, waiting for the love of her life… But in reality, they’re not real – including the balcony!
I remember watching Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as the 1996 version of Romeo & Juliet. The movie is so captivating and I still have clear picture of some sequences although I only watch it once.
If you’re a fan of the Shakespeare’s love story, you should include Verona in your bucket list. The small city in Northern Italy has been a popular destination among hopeless romantics and Shakespeare’s fans as it’s the home of the lovebirds.
Warning: if you’re one of the fans and keep reading this blog post, it may break your heart
Verona, the Most Opportunist City?
Opportunist (n) – a person who takes advantage of opportunities as and when they arise, regardless of planning or principle.
Romeo & Juliet is a play written by Shakespeare (between 1591-1595) and sets in Verona. I was there in 2017 and love the small, charming city.
But when my tour guide started to speak, my jaws constantly dropped by the revelations. No, it’s not about the non-existence of the lovebirds (which is bearable).
La Casa di Giulietta (House of Juliet) originally had no balcony, so the mayor of Verona decided to create it.
I was so surprised and amazed to know that such effort was made to turn the city into a top tourist destination and source of income. What a brilliant idea, thanks to the mega-success of the play!
Romeo, Juliet & the Beautiful Lies
Ok, so here are some fun facts about Verona:
*Romeo’s and Juliet’s houses aren’t theirs
Do you believe that the city council purposely bought two resident houses in order to turn them into Romeo’s and Juliet’s “houses”? In 1905, the mayor of Verona bought a 14th-century house from the Capello family as part of the tourism marketing campaign.
He thought the family name sounded like Capulet (Juliet’s surname), so he named one of the houses as La Casa di Giulietta (House of Juliet).
*The balcony in La Casa di Giulietta is a real fake
When the mayor bought the house, it had no balcony. So he made one for the sake of tourism and now you have to pay around 6 euro to enter the house-museum.
*Touching Juliet’s right breast will bring you luck in love
Now, this is a myth. Right below the balcony, you’ll see a bronze Juliet statue which is purposely displayed there. To make things more interesting, someone decided to create a myth – whoever touches her right breast will have good luck in love.
*No, Juliet doesn’t reply your letter
Believe it or not, some people view La Casa di Giulietta as a pilgrimage site. Juliet receives thousands of letters every year, mostly looking for guidance in love affairs. Fortunately, a local group is volunteering to reply the letters.
*Romeo & Juliet’s tomb is fake
In Shakespeare’s play, the two lovers were buried in Verona. After the love story hits success, a real sarcophagus for the lovers was placed in the courtyard of the Abbey of San Francesco.
Verona, oh Verona… Regardless of the surprises, I wouldn’t want to skip the hometown of Romeo & Juliet xxx