Romeo & Juliet, Verona
This bust of William Shakespeare is located near the Bra Gate. The inscription comes from Romeo and Juliet and reads:
"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 words were said by Romeo as he left Verona after being exiled. He was supposed to have left the city through the Bra Gate.
I had read that Juliet's house was not worth visiting, but I like to judge these things for myself.
I must say though I really did find it pretty awful. Despite the fact it was pouring and freezing there were lots of people there. Entry to the house's courtyard is via a passageway covered everywhere with love notes. It is a bit of a mess. There was a queue to go into the house itself and we did not bother going inside. There was also a queue to have your photo taken with the statue of Juliet. Everyone who gets their photo taken with her has to make a big deal of rubbing or in some cases even sucking her right breast. That part of the statue is shiny from all the attention it gets.
Juliet was of course just a character in a story and this house has been labelled her house because it has a pretty balcony and can be used to extract money from gullible tourists.
Obviously from the crowds thronging there lots of people do like this sight. I have absolutely no idea why though. It is probably the most over-rated attraction I have ever seen.
We had intended to visit Romeo's house after this, but could not find it and were so cold we both refused to take the map out and look for it. If it was anything like Juliet's house it did not really seem worth the effort anyway.
The House was built in the 13th century, It belonged to the Cappello family for a long time.The identification of the Cappellos with the Capulets gave birth to the idea that there stood the House of Juliet, Shakespeare’s tragic heroine.
In the courtyard there is the bronze statue of Juliet by the sculptor Nereo Costantini and for some reason everybody likes the right breast of Juliet not the left one. No the right one. Don't ask me why, because I don't know. Probably some kind of fool started a story that it is good for your chances in love or something.
There is also a big iron gate where you see hundreds, may be even thousands of little locks. They are hung up ther by loved one to "lock" their love for eachother some how.
I would have performed shakespeare here in front of the balcony, but the big ugly woman on the balcony at that moment, wasn't inviting to perform my act.
Since my younger daughter's name is Juliët, I make my own story. She bought a nice T-shirt wit the following text on it: "Hello I am Juliët, sorry, but you are not my Romeo!"
Sardines come from all over the world to pack themselves in and around the courtyard of "Juliet's House". They hang up their padlocks with the names of their lovers. Every minute there's a new sardine on the balcony, waving like Lady Di to their beloveds below, who fervently photograph. Inside the house where one can enter with payment, one can take pictures of the bed, of the chairs, of the walls. There is even a Romeo & Juliet store in the courtyard! ONLY, Shakespeare never made it to Verona in his lifetime. The city of Verona bought this house because it was suitable scenery to the story Shakespeare wrote using the name Verona!
"Juliet lives here, write to her!" So it says in five languages, right above her mailbox. Evidently people have been writing to Juliet for years, and the letters are answered by her volunteer "secretaries" who are members of the Juliet Club in Verona.
There is even a contest every year in February (on Valentine's Day) to choose the most moving and heartfelt letters. And on September 16th every year they celebrate Juliet's birthday.
Second photo: "Cara Giulietta" -- for those who don't like to write letters with pen and paper, there are four computers in her house so people can write to her in Italian or English. These are obviously historic computers from a bygone century, the twentieth.
This is it, Juliet's original, absolutely genuine bed.
Not from the fourteenth century, of course, but from the twentieth, when it was built and used for the love scene in Zeffirelli's film Romeo and Juliet in 1968.
This film won two Oscars, for the Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design. Zeffirelli was also nominated for Best Director, and the film was nominated for Best Picture, but both of these awards actually went to Oliver!, directed by Carol Reed, which was a musical based on the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.
Second photo: Next to Juliet's bed is a printed explanation and a photo from Zeffirelli's film.
Okay, so Juliet might have been a fictional character, but that didn't stop her from having a house and a balcony. Supposedly this house really did belong to a 14th century Veronese family which just might have been one of the families Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote Romeo and Juliet in 1594.
All sorts of lovely people from all over the world come here to take photos of Juliet's balcony with their digital cameras.
Update 2011: You can now hear Juliet singing a few bars of Gounod’s opera Roméo et Juliette from this very balcony in the Arena’s flash mob video on YouTube.
Second photo: More young people taking photos in all directions.
Third photo: More tourists in the courtyard. There is a small museum in Juliet's house, but young couples usually save half the price of admission because just the girl goes in so she can stand on the balcony while her boyfriend takes a picture of her from down in the courtyard.
Fourth photo: Looking down at the courtyard. The red chairs on the terrace are for spectators who come to see an abridged version of – you guessed it – Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Fifth photo: View from one of the upper windows of Juliet's house. That's Castel San Pietro in the background.
After encountering amazing numbers of tourists at Juliet's House, I expected there would also be crowds at her tomb -- or at least four or five lovelorn teen-age girls of various nationalities gazing photogenically at the tomb and barely holding back their tears.
But no, I had the place to myself when I was there, which I guess just goes to show that most tourists are more selective about their sightseeing than I am.
A grave? O no! a lantern, slaughter'd youth,
For here lies Juliet, and her beauty makes
This vault a feasting presence full of light.
Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
Fourth photo: No, this is not Juliet, just a nude statue of somebody else that is on display in the small museum upstairs from her tomb.
Fifth photo: The site of Juliet's tomb was used by the ancient Romans for rubbish disposal, so numerous amphora (jugs) have been found there. Evidently these were thrown away because they got rancid after oil had been stored in them for a long time.
In the old town section of Verona on via Capello, there are many medieval era buildings. In one there is a small balcony overlooking a courtyard with a statue of Juliet. Of course, this is now the Juliet's Balcony and all things star crossed. We found it rather comical that so many people had to rub Juliet's exposed right boob. It is what it is...
There is no proof that a Capuleti (Capulet) family ever lived here (or if they did, that a young girl named Juliet ever existed), and it wasn't until 1905 that the city bought what was an abandoned, overgrown garden and decided its future. Rumor is that this was once actually a whorehouse.
So powerful is the legend of Juliet that over half a million tourists flock here every year to visit the simple courtyard and home that are considerably less affluent-looking than the sumptuous Franco Zeffirelli version as you may remember it (the movie was filmed in Tuscany)
The curious might want to fork over the entrance fee to see the spartan interior of the 13th-century home, restored in 1996. Ceramics and furniture on display are authentic of the era but did not belong to Juliet's family -- if there ever was a Juliet at all. No one is willing to confirm (or deny) that the balcony was added to the palazzo as recently as 1928 (though that doesn't stop many a young lass from posing on it, staring dreamily at the sky).
Everyone wants to see the famous balcony, and it is just a few minutes walk from the arena, so it is easy. Along the street are shops and there will be plenty of tourists, but soon you walk to the left through the portal and there on the right, hangs the balcony.
You can do as I did and step back and take it all in, watching the tourists come out on the balcony to have their picture taken. There is a few benches to rest, and then you can enter the door and proceed up to the balcony.
Be sure and "rub" the breast of Juliet for good luck.
Inside there is a nice museum including clothing of that era, and you can use the Verona Card to gain entrance.
Historians agree that this house is not the true house of Juliet, but that won't stop the tourists and most people agree that the balcony probably is a good replica, worth photographing.
Casa di Giulietta - (The House of Juliet) is also in the city center. The romantic marble balcony at Villa Capuleti where Romeo supposedly climbed is in fact in a restored 13th century inn. The house on #27 Via Cappello is not linked to the romantic legend of Romeo and Juliet at all but is a popular tourist attraction.
The play, Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare, was based in Verona. One of Shakespeare's early comedies was titled The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The play, The Taming of the Shrew, also by Shakespeare, is based in Verona.
Verona's most popular site is the balcony said to be Juliet's in Romeo and Juliet. The house said to be Juliet's house is in a courtyard off Via Capello. You can see the balcony and the bronze statue of Juliet for free (you can also rub Juliet's breast for good luck). The 13th century house is a good example of Gothic architecture and inside is a museum with period furniture.
Visiting hours: 8am-7pm
closed on Monday
It's a wonderful place that transmitted its ancient emotions in a special way. It seems to live there the atmosphere and the passion of Romeo & Juliet. Its perhaps one of the most romantic places in the world. This place it's also a part of the setting of one of the most important Shakespeare' s play.
Another interesting and curious thing to do here is to engrave your name on the Lovers' Terrace to be part forever of Verona history. It's particularly recommended for lovers and for others events like Valentine' s day.
The place is must when you visit Verona, but you might be disapointed cause the place is full of persons, mostly giggling young girls, and the love notes have been stuck by chewing gum into walls. Looks disgusting! And the statue in the garden. Stories tell that touching the girls breast brings the love, but the touch should be genttle, not push like the most one are doing.
But look up, forget the walls and rogues, just think about love, the youngs and future!
Romeo, Romeo, where forth art thou Romeo?
Probably third in line behind the American and French guys getting their picture taken rubbing the right breast of Juliet's statue. It is suppose to bring you luck and since she's bronze, she won't slap you.
The legendary lovers famed balcony has become a must see stop for tourists visiting Verona. It doesn't matter if they were fictional characters and the balcony was built in the 1930's to provide photo seeking tourists with a photo op, it's fun to dream and imagine Juliet peering out from the balcony waiting for her lover to appear.
Today, you can stop in the courtyard and see the statue, leave a love note and just give your own Juliet a little hug and kiss as the lovers would have done.
Juliet's house houses a small museum and temporary art exhibitions. All the frescoes, paintings, and ceramics on display are genuine antiques from the 16th and 17th century, however, none of them have ever belonged to the Capulets.