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“O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” –Juliet’s famous lines in the play Romeo and Juliet

One of the benefits of travelling apart from widening your horizon is to make you aware and separate fact from fiction like this 2nd city we visited on Day 2 of our Euro Tour – Verona, synonymous to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Juliet’s Balcony

Verona is very real and is located in the Venetian region of Northern Italy that gave birth to the legend of Romeo and Juliet, despite the fact that there is little evidence that the couple ever existed a house claiming to be the Capulets’ has been turned into a tourist attraction. Casa di Giulietta  features the balcony, and in the small courtyard, a bronze statue of Juliet. Beneath the balcony was where Juliet is supposed to have been wooed by Romeo.  Historians say there is almost nothing to connect the house to Shakespeare’s tragic love story and that the celebrated balcony was constructed out of pieces of a medieval sarcophagus in the 17th century. The only shred of a connection is the fact that the house was probably once the abode of the Cappello family — who may have been the model for the Capulets of Romeo and Juliet.

Letters addressed to Juliet keep arriving in Verona, more than 5,000 letters are received each year, most are from American teenagers. These letters are read and replied by local volunteers known as Club DI Giulietta (Juliet’s Club). Our tour manager mentioned this 2010 movie to refer how this club works. ‘Letters to Juliet’, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Amanda Seyfried. I have seen this film it’s a tale of a young American tourist who stumbles on one such missive shoved behind a loose brick in the courtyard below Juliet’s balcony. She reveals that it was written by Redgrave’s character more than 50 years earlier, expressing sorrow that she left behind a handsome young Italian, Lorenzo, to return home to England.

As per our local guide it’s customary to do the following while in the court.

  1. Stroke the right metal breast of Juliet’s statue, and you will have good luck. Seriously, I pity Juiliet’s statue, I’m guessing she wants to shout from the countless hands that fondled her now discolored  right breast. Anyways, this hasn’t stopped me from striking a pose while caressing her worn-out chest.
  2.  Write your name and the name of your beloved on the ramparts of the entrance.  Many think that writing on Juliet’s wall will make their love everlasting. But  the local tourist guide made this disclaimer  “that everlasting love is only applicable in Verona,  outside Verona I don’t care!.”
  3. Put small love letters on the walls, lock it  and throw away the key but our ‘mood killer’ tour manager warned us that there’s a master key that opened up all those locks to clean the wall for next day tourists

Arena di Verona

Not far from Juliet’s balcony we walked and reached The Verona Arena (Arena DI Verona) is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra. There’s not much I can say about this auditorium because it was closed and under renovation. Our tourist guide mentioned that the place was  internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances and it is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind.

The city of Verona has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture.A United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site is a place (such as a forest, mountain, lake, island, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance.While each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located, UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.There are 981 World Heritage Sites, Italy has the most number totalling 49.

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