Italy’s Little Rome
“Eyes, look your last! Arms, take your last embrace! And lips, O you the doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss.”
These verses are repeated as an echo in the wind when travelers visit Verona. This city, also known as “Italy’s little Rome”, is an art and history center where you can find Roman buildings, medieval structures and traces of Renaissance architecture. For this reason, the UNESCO declared it World Cultural Heritage in the year 2000.
Apart from possessing a special charm, this destination’s soul is found in the concatenation between literature and architecture. Even though Romeo Montagu and Juliet Capulet were fictitious, the story of these tragic lovers has remained alive throughout time. It had such an impact on people that it inspired the creation of historic connections between it and some buildings in the city.
Juliet’s House in Verona
And so, every year thousands of tourists visit Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s House). The house was built in the twelfth century and belonged to the Dal Capello family. Its façade is decorated with gothic windows that at the same time frame the famous balcony from which Juliet supposedly talked to her lover.
Visiting Juliet’s House
The interior of the house is equally beautiful –Antonio Avena restored it in 1935. It has an exhibit of ceramic ornaments, carved wood chests and stairways and brick chimneys. Walk around the site imagining the poetic conversations between Juliet and her beloved Romeo, but don’t leave without visiting the backyard. There you will find the young maiden represented in a bronze statue created by Nereo Costantini. And if you like fun rituals, there’s a popular myth that says that you’ll be lucky in love if you place your hand on the statue’s right breast.
To commemorate your visit to Casa di Giulietta, give yourself the chance to become a modern Shakespeare and free your inner Romeo. Il Club di Giulietta is a civil organization to which people from all around the world send letters written for Juliet. Then, “Juliet’s secretaries” –a group of volunteers– read them and reply to each of them. Finally, on February 14th they award the best ones.
To create shorter messages combined with a touch of street art, there’s a wall in Juliet’s house on which people can write and/or paint love proposals, hearts and vows. They’re so many that the wall needs to be wiped clean twice a year!
Love Locks in Verona
If writing is not your thing, make your love story last for all eternity by placing a “love lock” on Juliet’s house’s gate. This custom that is now common in Verona, was inspired by the book Ho voglia di te by Federico Moccia. In the story, the protagonists placed a lock in one of the lampposts of the Milvio Bridge as a symbol of their endless love.