Romeo & Juliet, Verona
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.
With the help of some nice VirtualTourist members on the Verona Forum I was able to figure out that Vero and Giada are girls' names (Vero is short for Veronica), and that the person who loves Giada does so in two ways: erotically (ti amo) and selflessly (ti agapo, which turns out to be Greek and not Italian).
Giada means jade, by the way.
You can click on the link below if by any chance you would like to see this thread from the Verona Forum.
Right below Verona's most famous balcony is a quite new bronze statue of Giulietta. One can be lucky to make a pic of her without tourists. Giulietta's face is almost black but her breasts, especially the right one, are shining, polished by millions of mostly male hands. It is amazing to see how the people are queing up for a picture touching Giulietta's breasts - maybe inspired from the nearby piazza Bra....
See the travelogue for this.
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
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.
A honorary citizenship for William Shakespeare would be the minimum award from the city if he would still be alive. Many vistors of Verona do not care much about the immense architectonic treasures of the city but only come to see this rather unattractive balcony at an architectonically not very meaningful building.
When I was there the thing was under repair and looked a bit strange - or was a wedding going on here?.
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.
"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.
Perhaps this tip should be under Tourist Traps - perhaps it should be under both. There is no charge to wander in and see the balcony, or look at the graffiti on the wall, so why not have a look anyway. We all know that Romeo and Juliet were fictional characters, but the tale must have had its origins somewhere. This house is typical of that time, although the balcony was added only in the 1930's. The house actually belonged to the Capello family, which I suppose is near enough to Capulet for someone to turn it their advantage. I haven't been in the house, but I have heard that actually it is worth seeing.
As you’ll probably know Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet’s love story takes place in Verona. Not far from Piazza delle Erbe is via Cappelo and Juliet's house. It's house from XIII century with brick facade. From the tradition this house belonged to Capulets. You can see famouse balcony from which Juliet looked out to her beloved. But don't forget it's only story not real.
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?!
Unlike Juliet's house, the house which is said to have been that of her Romeo has not yet been turned into a tourist attraction. In fact, it's a nice but fairly non-descript house sitting a few steps away from Piazza dei Signori, on Via Arche Scaligere, in the same neighborhood as Juliet's house. The only way you can recognize it is thanks to a plaque on the wall that includes some lines from Shakespeare's play, starting with "O, where is Romeo?". The house is believed to have once belonged to the Montecchi family, which apparently was similar enough to make a connection with Shakespeare's Montagues. I must admit that I was suprised to see how little attention was being paid to Romeo's house, especially with all the hype surrounding the Casa di Giulietta. I wouldn't be surprised if the situation were to change eventually, seems like such a good opportunity to keep the legend alive!
This is a borderline tourist trap but it didn't cost anything so why not check it out?! Verona of course, is the city that Shakespeare based his most famous "Romeo & Juliet" You can see the courtyard which inspired the infamous balcony scene. There is a statue of Juliet inside the courtyard and it is said if you are male and you rub her right breast it will bring you great vitality and a woman may meet her Romeo!.
this balcony is supposedly the one that romeo climbed to see his lover juliet. the original story of romeo and juliet was written by luigi da porto in the 1520's. this famous tourist attraction is actually a 13th century restored inn.