Here's a site that's as strange as it is unique. The monastery of San Francesco al Corso is first and foremost a small museum (Museo degli Affreschi) that houses different religious paintings, frescoes and sculptures. However, most visitors just breeze through the museum in order to see the crypt that contains Juliet's tomb. Just like it was the case with Juliet's house, rumours somehow started floating around that the church of San Francesco al Corso was where Romeo and Juliet had gotten married, and that the two lovers came to their untimely end shortly after their wedding day in the monastery's crypt. It's common knowledge that the tomb described as Juliet's only dates back to 1937 and that it was most probably added after the success of the 1936 "Romeo and Juliet" movie starring Leslie Howard as Romeo, Norma Shearer as Juliet, and John Barrymore as Mercutio. But that doesn't stop people from all around the world from paying their respect to Giulietta, or lovers from getting married at the church of San Francesco al Corso (there was effectively a wedding going on when we were there).
Well... it's included in the Verona Card, so why not?!
About a century before William Shakespeare wrote the play "Romeo and Juliet", there already was a story going around Italy about two young lovers coming to a tragic end. Luigi da Porto was the first author to set the story in Verona and to name its main characters Romeo and Giulietta. The building that stands at No. 23 Via Cappello dates back to the 12th century and once belonged to the Capello family, which people began associating with the name Capuleti, and thus a new legend was born. "Juliet's house" is now one of the most visited sites in all of Verona. People come to profess their love on Juliet's wall by leaving letters, post-its or graffitis. In the lovely inner courtyard, it's also possible to see Juliet's balcony and a bronze statue of Juliet - if you're wondering why her right breast is so shiny, it's because people believe that touching it will make you lucky in love.
Most people don't bother going inside the house, but as it was included in the Verona Card I went in to take a look. There are some Romeo & Juliet movie props on display, along with different editions of Shakespeare's play. There are computers available if you want to send an e-mail to Juliet (who knew she'd gotten so modern!), and of course you can get your picture taken on Juliet's balcony. It also gives you a nice idea of what a medieval house in Verona looks like from the inside.
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.
The Capulet, or Capuletti, family was engaged in a bitter power struggle with the Montecchi, or Montague, family. Dante lived in Verona about the time of their feud, which he alludes to in his Divine Comedy. Legends about two star-crossed lovers from these families have been bandied about since the 14th century; Shakespeare borrowed from them to write Romeo and Juliet.
The Capulet house has a balcony, specially constructed to replicate the famous one in Shakespeare's play. It's a tourist attraction, and while not quite authentic, certainly worth a visit if you're in a romantic mood.
Pretend to be Juliet and step out on the famous balcony of Juliet's house to talk to your Romeo!
This tall building from the 13th century is identified with the House of the Capulets, Juliet's family.
Opening Hours: 8.30am-7.30pm Tue-Sun, 1.30pm-7.30pm Mon
Cost of Entry: €3
The tourism to Verona is not of Dante or of the Petrarch or dell’Arena, it is of Giulietta. However it is not even sure that Shakespeare ever visited Verona and the characters of the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet come from a story by Luigi da Porto of Vicenza.
It is also not sure, whether Romeo and Juliet were living persons.
The legend, that Juliet lived here, spread in the 19. century, since the house built in the 12. century, was the property of the Family Dal Capello (the name Capulet would come from here).
From the courtyard you can see Juliet’s Balcony, which was added to the house during a restoration in the 1930s. The late addition of the balcony is a point of contention, though.
But the highlight of the visit would be the bronze statue of Juliet in the courtyard.
True or not, you may rub the right breast of Juliet's statue for good luck like everybody else.
You can also see a lot of graffiti notes on the walls.
Juliet's house is now the property of the state and is used to house 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.
By the way, you can save money - 3 Eu for general entry and 7 Eu for the whole tour - if you just walk in the courtyard, sjnce it is free. The whole complex is opened daily from 9am to 7pm, except on Mondays, when is opened in the afternoon only.
So, if Juliet lived here, what about Romeo? A couple of streets away the house at 4, Via Arche Scaligere has been designated as his home. It is private, so other than a sign on the wall there is nothing much to see.
"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."
—William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene III
Since the story is fictional the house must be also, but, like they say, it's the thought that counts. It is, however, a very old house (13th century). The house's most photographed attraction is the balcony and visitors rub the right breast of Juliet's statue for luck.
This is one of the most visited spots in town, however it was very, very difficult to find! We got lost several times trying to find it so, we had to ask to locals for it. Of course Juliet didn't exist but tourists wanted to see something related with the story so, this balcony was made to satisfy all those dream-lovers. There is not so much to do there, just to see the balcony and if you wish you can go up there. There is also a Juliet statue, if you touch her right breast, it is supposed it'll bring you luck. There is a souvenir shop with lots of things with the name of 'Romeo and Juliet' printed on them but it was quite expensive. In the walls of the entrace of this place you can leave a love message or whatever you want. I'm not that superstitious but my sister wrote a note asking to find a special person and that same night she met a nice guy in Venice, needless to say they are in touch up to this date, seriously!!
Verona is home to Shakespeare's fictional yet legendary couple, and he only elaborated on a previously existing script. In actuality, the feuding Montagues and Capulets were inspired by the real Montecchi and Capello families from the area. Since Shakespeare's famous play, the city, ever with a mind to the tourist dollar, has fully empraced the Romeo and Juliet story. They have Juliet's house (balcony and all) as well as Juliet's Tomb, not to mention Giardino Guiliano, my personal choice of things to see (refer my general tips).
The fact that the balcony that the busloads swoon over was only built in the 1930's makes little difference to the swarms - it's Via Capella or be damned!
All fictional, but this detracts not one iota from the allure of the place. Hearts with names abound on the wall. Who am I to deny people their bit of romance?
Still, at the risk of being petty, I find reality far more interesting and Verona has more than enough of that. Apart from the Scalegeris and Calgrande Ist who entertained Dante, there is a wealth of wonders, particularly in the churches. Do yourself a favour, visit the balcony if you must, but take time out to learn about the reality of the other things Verona has to offer. They're far more interesting I assure you.
This is THE tourist drop off to gawk at the balcony and the house. Made famous by Shakespeare story of lover unhappiness, he spoke to her on the balcony. So much graffitti and just grimey in the area, turned me off, as well s the number of people standing around, kind of wondering why am I here, maybe we should hang out a while. The home was built around 1300, and the balcony was added in 1936 in an effort to draw tourists to Verona. It is just off Piazza Erbe-south. Open 8:30-19:30 daily except Monday.
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