“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo” – William Shakespeare
Twice I have been to Verona and twice I have left with a sad face and heavy heart.
Not because I didn’t like it. Quite the contrary.
Both times – the first time about 12 years ago and the second time, a couple of months ago – I was only there for a few hours. It just wasn’t enough. Enough though to be captivated, drawn in and feel a little of that good old “love at first sight” thing.
Yep, I love Verona. I’m a softy, a hopeless romantic (a little too hopeless) and a dreamer. I love love. And Verona epitomises all of this and more. How could I not love this place?
As the setting for one of the most well known, tragic love stories in the world, yes – people come to Verona for art, architecture and history, but there’s one house here which welcomes you in even as a stranger.Juliet’s House, (fictionally) features the balcony where Juliet stood while Romeo declared his love in the Shakespeare classic.
When you walk in, you almost forget that Romeo and Juliet weren’t real characters but figments of Shakespeare’s imagination. But who cares? This place has the power to turn even the most non romantic, cynical and rational of people into a sappy romantic in seconds.
It is after all the most powerful love story in popular western culture and hey, a lot of us love to dream. Even if for a few minutes (and putting aside its tragic ending!)
The house was actually owned by the Capello family (ring a bell? Capulet?) and dates back to the 13th century.
Out in the courtyard stands a bronze sculpture of Juliet and tourists flock here to touch her right breast for luck. So of course I did.Along the walls and doors in the entrance to the courtyard are love notes. And I stopped to pin one too.As I turned to leave, I took one last look at Juliet, gazed up at the balcony, and took in the sight of smiling people. Shakespeare’s words may have been fictional, but years on, the truth is plain to see.
Love, in whatever form, can be complicated but evokes happiness. It feeds the soul and spirit and brings people together. And on this day, in a most beautiful setting. This Shakespeare was on to something.
As our local guide Cecilia bid us goodbye, she said, “Being the city of love, please keep Verona in your hearts”. And that I will.
Signing off from Trastevere
To see more on my recent north Italy travels, follow the hashtag #VeronaGarda on social media and watch this space!
Note: My recent North Italy travels we part or a sponsored press trip as part of my selection as a Top Hosted Blogger for TBDI2014. This press tour was funded by the following partners whom I thank immensely for their support and heartwarming hospitality: TTG Italia, TBDI – Travel Blogger Destination Italy, Verona Tuttintorno, Lago di Garda Veneto, Comune di Verona, Comune di Valeggio Sul Mincio (Verona), Comune di Cavriana (Mantova) and Palazzo Te Mantova
While all my travel costs were covered, nobody tells me what to write. All views and images are my own.1