Romeo and Juliet story.
The romantic Verona as setting
of the most famous romance ever
The Romeo and Juliet story can not be separated from the city of Verona.
Every year millions of visitors go to Verona - Italy’s fourth-most-visited city, and second in Veneto after Venice - and make towards a suggestive courtyard located in the center of the town, just to take a picture at the Romeo and Juliet balcony, and to leave their letters to Juliet.
I suggest you drop in at the celebre house, even better if you are with your sweetheart, but please do not forget that there is much more to Verona than the touristy Romeo and Juliet balcony.
Sure, it is about a pictoresque, evocative courtyard and a fine gothic-style medieval tower house, but it is just a hint of all the Verona’s beauty, and not worth more than a 10-15 minutes visit.
After that, move on and dive deep into the spectacular town. Concerning this, you can have a look here at the 14 must-see Verona attractions.
Romeo and Juliet story
No need to say that it is one of the most well-known romances ever.
Many people wonder whether such couple really existed.
The story was made famous by the English playwright William Shakespeare in its celebre play Romeo and Juliet, but the novel was originally written by the Vicenza writer Luigi Da Porto(1485-1529), and published in Venice in the mid 1500s.
The story is set in the first half of 1300s. It is about two young lovers who were not allowed by the respective families to achieve their dream of love.
Finally, after many vicissitudes, they make a decision to run away together to the city of Mantua.
Juliet gulps down a narcotic potion to fake death for 40 hours, long enough to allow Romeo to come to her tomb and take her with him.
Something goes wrong though, and their accomplice, Brother Lorenzo, misses to inform Romeo about Juliet’s plan of faking her death. Once the young man gets to the grave he kills himself in despair by poison, thinking his beloved was dead.
When Juliet wakes up, she realizes the tragedy and in turn stabs herself in the heart.
The two star-crossed lovers belonged to the two most powerful families of Verona, the Montecchi and Capuleti. Those families really existed in Verona in the beginning of 1300s, and they really happened to be bitter enemies.
This is the only accepted fact of all this story. Even the tuscan poet Dante, who has been living in Verona at the time of the Capuleti-Montecchi family, mentions the two families in his Divine Comedy.
The rest of it, the Romeo and Juliet story, is just a legend and there is no historical document to back it.
But poetry is sometimes stronger than history, and the story ended up symbolizing the power of love, and the love-death pairing, gone down in legend and history thanks to William Shakespeare.
The Romeo and Juliet balcony
Juliet’s house is a 1200s’ building, a jewel of the gothic architecture.
In the romantic courtyard you will find a small crowd of tourists, having their picture taken while rubbing Juliet’s bronze statues’ breast. It is an old tradition and it is supposed to bring you luck, especially in love.
Then, you can enter the house and go upstairs to the famous balcony. Actually, the balcony is the only quite new thing here, built in 1937 for the sake of tourism, in occasion of the house remodeling.
Inside the Juliet’s house you'll see a small museum, and temporary art exhibitions.
Letters to Juliet
The Romeo and Juliet story must really have had a strong impact if thousands of people write letters to Juliet every year from anywhere in the world.
Of course, if you travel to Verona you can easily profess your love by leaving a letter or a post-it on a wall in the Juliet’s house.
Otherwise, there is a dedicated association of volunteers in Verona – the Juliet Club – which has been busy for over 70 year replying to countless letters to Juliet, from people of any age and nationality.
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