Romeo and Juliet in Fair Verona | An indefinable, undeniable power of enduring love that lives on in so many ways!

posted in: Europe, Italy, Verona 2

Photo credit to Airbnb: Romeo & Juliet/Juliet’s House

“Fair Verona” is what he called this enchanting City. William Shakespeare chose Verona to be the romantic backdrop for the second of his ten tragedies, Romeo and Juliet. It was the first romantic tragedy ever written and one that made Verona famous as one of the romantic cities of the world. Shakespeare’s settings for Romeo and Juliet was so vivid and so descriptive that the “balcony” and Juliet’s house where the star-crossed young couple declared their love have become a pilgrimage destination for many from all around the world.

The legend, the tradition or belief – call it what you will – the undeniable power of love where people forget that the balcony never existed at the time, that Romeo and Juliet aren’t real, and the story itself was by no means an original story. Today, the indefinable, undeniable power of enduring love lives on in so many ways in so many lives! Not only is Verona a City for Lovers but it is also one of the fifty-five Italian sites listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

About this article on Romeo and Juliet in “Fair Verona”

This article on “Romeo and Juliet in Fair Verona” gives a brief background to Shakespeare’s inspiration and story of Romeo and Juliet. It gives the reader a quick read-through of Shakespeare’s 14-line poem and the play of Romeo and Juliet. Further, this page provides an overview to the creation of Juliet’s House as a tourist attraction. It includes links to watch the American movies that may have inspired some restorations of Casa di Giulietta | Juliet’s House. Beautiful photos of both the exterior and interior of the House are included also. Regarded as a symbol of love and a “pilgrimage” spot for honeymooners and lovers, it is a destination not to be missed. Suggestions and practical information to visit this destination in the City of Lovers are also included.

Casa di Guilietta | House of Juliet | Juliet’s House is located at Via Cappello, 23, 37121 Verona VR, Italy

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Inspiration for Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare’s work on Romeo and Juliet was first published in 1597 but it was by no means an original story. The tragic story of the star-struck lovers was inspired by Arthur Brooke’s poem, The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet, which was published in 1562. Brooke’s version was inspired by older works by Italian writers, including Luigi de Porto and Matteo Bandello, who told the story of Romeo and Giuletta and the deadly feud between the families Montecchi and Capelletti. These names are also mentioned in a verse of Dante’s Purgatory, published in the mid-1300’s. However, Dante’s poem does not include anything about star-crossed lovers.

The story behind Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Although Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was inspired by earlier writings and Shakespeare may never had visited Verona, he began an era of modern drama. He inter-weaved historical fiction and imagination, in his poetic style resulting in a universal love story. He wrote about the lives of ordinary people who became just as important as the lives of the great. Romeo and Juliet was not a story of kings, queens, or emperors but it was about two young teenagers caught up in events beyond their control. Thus, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was so rooted in real life, that suspense and thrill was not required to gain spectators attention. So vivid and descriptive that it is difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.

A pair of star-crossed lovers

Shakespeare preface his works with sonnets, a 14-line poem which summarise and foreshadow the tragic fate of the lovers. A pair of star-crossed lovers is what he called Romeo and Juliet.

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
;


A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows
Doth, with their death, bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage;


Which, but their children’s end, naught could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare: Act 1 Prologue

Shakespeare lays out the plot and moral of the play and writes of an ongoing quarrel between two families who are of equal social status (“alike in dignity”), the Montagues and Capulets. Romeo is Montague and Juliet, a Capulet are the “pair of star-cross’d lovers” whose deaths will finally put an end to the feud.

The play of Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time when Romeo attends a masquerade ball at her father’s house. The attraction between the two youngsters is immediate but they know it’s doomed because of the feud between their two families.

After the ball, Romeo returns to the Capulet’s garden and overhears Juliet on her balcony declaring her love for him. Juliet speaks of Shakespeare’ famous lines in the play: “O Romeo, Romeo! {W}herefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; {o}r, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, {a}nd I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” Romeo makes himself known and they vow to marry the very next day, a marriage doomed to tragedy.

Romeo and Juliet by Frank Bernard Dicksee, 1884
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Romeo and Juliet, 1884, Frank Bernard Dicksee (1853 – 1928): Art UK

This painting of the lovers on the balcony moments before Romeo’s swift exit perfectly captures the urgency of the moment (with one leg over the ledge)

The story moves quickly, a fast-paced rhythm, in a span of five days, where the two teenagers meet, fall in love, struggle, escape, poisoned and death. A timeless masterpiece representing human emotions.

The house in Verona, House of Juliet and “forevermore” – after Romeo and Juliet

Even though Juliet Capulet is a fictional character created by Shakespeare, there is a 13th century house in Verona which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Millions of tourists from around the globe visit just to see the balcony at Casa di Giulietta (House of Juliet) where she was wooed by her Romeo. People also visit Juliet’ House for a tradition that has developed which is particularly associated with newly-weds and young lovers. – that their love will last for eternity, forevermore.

The setting of Romeo and Juliet was so vivid and so descriptive that the balcony scene where the star-crossed young couple declared their love have become a pilgrimage destination for many from all around the world.

Well, we know that Romeo and Juliet are not real, therefore the balcony is also “not real”. So, why is this particular 13th century house in Verona which is connected to fictional characters of Romeo and Juliet, attracts so many from around the globe, making it a “forevermore” destination?

Here are the stories behind the house in Verona, House of Juliet and forevermore

1 | Story of the house in Verona

This particular 13th century building was once inhabited by the Cappello family, a name similar to the Italian version’s Capelletti and Shakespeare’s Capulet.

The Cappello family were spice merchants whose main residence was right here. The family’s coat of arms (“a bonnet-like hat carved in the courtyard vault’s keystone as proof of the building’s ties to the Capello family“) is still visible. The accommodation originally consisted of two adjacent medieval towers. and a large courtyard. Now, it features two 16th century constructions and a courtyard.

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2 | The story of Casa di Giulietta | House of Juliet | Juliet’s House in Verona – Creating a “Juliet’s House” as an attraction

The Courtyard at Casa di Giulietta, Verona, 2019

The building was bought at a public auction from the Cappello family in 1907 by the City of Verona. The City of Verona decided to turn the house into Juliet’s House, a museum, taking advantage of the famed Shakespeare’s play of Romeo and Juliet and the similarity between the names of the house’s true owner, Capello and the Capulet in Shakespeare’s play. Thus, the famous tourist attraction, Casa di Giulietta or Juliet’s House was born. A clever marketing strategy, one would say!

Entrance to Casa di Giulietta, Verona
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The arch that leads to the courtyard of Casa di Giulietta | Juliet’s House, Via Cappello, 23, 37121 Verona VR, Italy. (2019)

The tower-building did not have a balcony or Gothic-style windows and doors when it was purchased.

3 | Adding the infamous “Juliet’s Balcony”

The balcony to Juliet’s House was discovered in the early 20th century. This small balcony dating back to the Gothic period was recovered from the ruins of medieval houses which had to be demolished to make way for the building of new dams across the river to prevent future flooding.

Juliet's Balcony
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The famous balcony at Juliet’s House, 2019

Antonio Avena, Director of Verona museums at the time had the balcony attached to the tower-house in the courtyard; thus Juliet’s balcony was born.

4 | Juliet’s Statue

Avena also added a bronze slender statue of teenage Juliet by sculptor Nereo Costantini in the courtyard.

Juliet's Statue in the courtyard.2
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Statue of Giulietta in the courtyard of Casa di Giulietta, 2019

The original statue of Juliet was removed from the courtyard to the museum in 2014. A crack appeared in the breast from all the wear and tear. There was damage to the statue’s right arm as well because the tourists leaned on it so they had their photos taken. An exact replica was created by a local foundry and placed in the courtyard.

5 | Exterior restoration of Juliet’s House

The frontal view of Casa di Giulietta in 2019

Under the directorship of Antonio Avena, a massive restoration was carried out in the 1930’s where windows and Gothic doors were added.

The house was adjusted through many more restorations over the years so it could be identified as Juliet’s House, inspired by the 1936 American movie by George Cukor.

Watch a snippet of the movie by clicking on the image below. The movie was nominated for an Oscar and Best Picture.

6 | Interior restoration of Juliet’s House

The interior of Juliet’s house was restored much later in the 1990’s. Authentic period ceramics, paintings and furniture from the 16th century, are on display in the rooms. This allows you to really get an idea of life in a well to do house in Verona from the time of Romeo and Juliet.

The restoration of the interior of Juliet’s house was inspired by a 1968 movie by Franco Zeffirelli. The bed and costumes worn in the movie is showcased here.

The interior of Juliet’s House as it is at present. The bed and costumes were used in Franco Zeffirelli’s movie of 1968

6.1 | Medieval and artistic climate

There are lovely painted ceilings and paintings that contribute to the medieval and artistic climate in which Casa di Giulietta was created upon.

Throughout the building, the walls are adorned with a series of art. There are two 14th century frescoes on the ground floor which were detached from the Palazzo del Tribunale, Verona in 1875. On the second floor, there are 16th century frescoes.

There are also paintings on the walls that illustrate the story of the two lovers.   There is this particular painting that will grab your attention – Death of Romeo and Juliet by Angelo dell’Oca Bianca (below).

Death of Romeo and Juliet by Angelo dell’Oca Bianca

These frescoes, wood-panels and fire-places are so rich and different due to their medieval origin.

Beautiful ceiling in one of the rooms as you keep exploring and walking through the rooms

Pretty painted ceilings as you walk up the stairs

Though bare, the dining room is spacious, airy and quite impressive with wood panels and warm colours (below)

Dining room in Casa di Giulietta | Juliet’s House, Verona 2019

A flower-shaped wooden writing desk which is now home to four computers where visitors can have a moment to write their messages to Juliet

If you like old architecture and historical artefacts and collections, you will find this place rather amazing.

7 | The legend and forevermore

No one really knows how the legend, tradition and all the symbolic gestures of Juliet’s House being the symbol of love and a pilgrimage spot actually started. The House was intended to be a museum but now, together with the courtyard, is a lot more than that!

Here goes the legend…

7.1 | The bronze statue of Juliet in the courtyard

Legend has it that if you touch Juliet’s right breast, it will bring you luck in finding your own true love. You can tell that many people believe in this as the bronze-plating has worn off and looks faded in comparison to other parts of the statue.

People wait in queue to have their turn so they too, hope to find their true love.(2019)

7.2 | Love notes

It is said that if you leave a declaration of your love with your names at Juliet’s House, you will be together forever. Tiny love notes, post-it stickers, graffiti scribbles cover the courtyard walls,

Little love notes cover the walls of the courtyard at Juliet's House, Romeo and Juliet, Verona
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Love notes on the courtyard walls behind the statue of Juliet
Graffiti and love notes on the doors in the courtyard of Juliet's House, Verona
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Graffiti and love notes on the doors in the courtyard of Juliet’s House. These seems to be preserved.

The graffiti scribbles and notes are from visitors asking for guidance in love. They tell stories of their pasts, their problems, lost loves and their hopes for the future. Some messages are really touching and emotional. Most of these notes are attached to the walls with chewing gum.

7.3 | Love locks

Just as Paris , Rome or Florence , Verona is no stranger to Love Locks especially in Juliet’s Courtyard! Names and hearts drawn on padlocks are attached to railings with keys thrown away – a gesture to lock the love forever. However, unlike the traditional gesture of fixing the padlock on railings at a bridge and throwing away the key into the river below, in Verona, these padlocks are available at nearby shops on Via Cappello.

Love locks attached to railings inside the shops in Verona nearby to Juliet's House
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Love locks attached to railings inside the shops in Verona nearby to Juliet’s House
Shops along Via Cappello, Verona selling padlocks
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Shops along Via Cappello, Verona selling padlocks.

The shops along Via Cappello sell these somewhat light-weight pink or red padlocks and at the same time make available railings in their shops where visitors can attach their locks.


The thing about love notes, graffiti and chewing gum which you may want to know

Graffiti being removed by an employee of Verona City Council, Verona
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An employee of the City of Verona painstakingly removing graffiti off the walls – the arch leading to the courtyard of Casa di Giulietta

In 2008, the City of Verona introduced fines of up to €500 for anyone caught writing graffiti on public or private property. The use of chewing gum to stick love notes is strictly prohibited also.


The House of Juliet | Casa di Giulietta – a symbol of indefinable, undeniable power of enduring love | Romeo and Juliet

Although almost everything about this house is fiction, the emotions that draw people to it is real. There is strength in the emotions that is indefinable and seems endless. It is unbelievable! It’s so strong that it defeats logic, neutralise any rational thought and influence decisions. Love, as it appears has an undeniable power.

Photo credit to Airbnb

In addition to the tradition or legend of touching Juliet’s breasts for true love or seeking eternal love by writing love notes, people also write letters to Juliet, asking for her advice in love.

Juliet’s Club | Juliet’s Secretaries

The Juliet Club has been reading, replying and archiving thousands of letters that they receive addressed to Juliet asking for her advice in love. The Club is managed entirely by volunteers. These volunteers are called “Juliet’s Secretaries” and they work out of an upstairs room in the house.

This “belief” and custom of writing letters to Juliet asking for advice inspired the making of a Hollywood movie, Letters to Juliet (2010).

Letters to Juliet tells the story of an American tourist (Amanda Seyfried) who visits a wall where the heartbroken leave notes to Juliet. She finds an unanswered letter from 1957. She writes to the author of the letter (Vanessa Redgrave) and sets out to find her long-lost lover. Watch the official trailer on Youtube by clicking the image below.

This is a feel-good movie for a lovely evening in over a couple of Amarone or Vapolicella.


Practical information on Romeo and Juliet in Fair Verona

1 | Visiting information on Juliet’s House

Location

Via Cappello, 23, 37121 Verona VR, Italy

Opening hours

 Tuesdays to Sundays from 8:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and on Mondays from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

Admission charge

Standard tickets cost €6 while concessions start at €1. Entry is free with a Verona Card.

Charges are for the museum. Access to the Courtyard is Free.

Best time to visit Juliet’s House:

Juliet’s House is a popular destination throughout the year. It is particularly popular around Valentine’s Day. The busiest season for tourism in Verona is from June to August. As one can imagine, Juliet’s House sees the highest visits during these months being a popular destination. Accommodation typically will cost more as well. The feel of “romance” is almost non-existent when it is crowded and you have to weave through people to get to see anything!

Pro tip: If you are visiting during the peak season, then take advantage of the early opening hours at 8:30 and go first thing. You may want to visit later in the day, perhaps after 5 p.m. Better still, I’d suggest an off-season visit. I visited in November. around 5 p.m. The crowd was less, no queues to the museum, and I could see and linger at ease. (See photos on the courtyard above)

Visit Juliet’s tomb  inside the monastery of San Francesco al Corso which has been indicated as the place where the setting for the tragic finale of the Shakespeare play took place. [Address: Via del Pontiere, Verona Italy]


2 | How to get to Juliet’s House

i | From Porta Nuova Station, Verona:

By Bus

Line Bus 13

Cost: €1 – €3

10 minutes

5 minutes by bus to Stradone San Fermo Station. Exit and walk for 5 minutes to Juliet’s House.

By Taxi

4 minutes

Cost: €8 – €11

Walk details

1.4 miles

27 minutes


ii | From Piazza Bra:

The easiest and most economical way to get to Juliet’s House from Piazza Bra is to walk via Via Giuseppe Mazzini. It takes 8 minutes. You can also get to your destination via Via Anfiteatro (8 minutes) and Via Leoncino (10 minutes). Take a look here


iii | From Piazza delle Erbe

The quickest way to get to Juliet’s House is from Piazza delle Erbe – 2 minutes.


For a comprehensive guide to Getting around Verona, go to this page – this is the only guide you need on public transportation and ways to explore this enchanting medieval city.


3 | Places to stay

3.1 | At Casa di Giulietta

For the first time ever, a lucky couple will get to stay at Juliet’s House on Valentine’s Day. Airbnb ran this competition for 2020 and I’m hoping that it will be for next year too.

Photos: credit to Airbnb

Try your luck for next year, you never know…you may have a winnable love story to share that might win you a stay at Juliet’s House and along the way inspire others to get their creativity on paper as well. Take a look at this Airbnb page for full details of the competition.

3.2 | Relais De Charme Il Sogno Di Giulietta

Stay in the heart of the historic old town and enjoy breakfast served in your room. Il Sogno Di Giulietta is set in the courtyard of Juliet’s house and offers elegant rooms. In the evening the courtyard is reserved to guests only, to admire the famous balcony in private. Some rooms have direct views of Juliet’s balcony and some face Via Cappello.

3.3 | Places to stay near Piazza Bra which you may like…


4 | Historical, people and culture activities


My thoughts…on Romeo and Juliet in Fair Verona

There is no denying that the creation and subsequent promotion of Juliet’s House is a clever marketing strategy over a story that is totally a fiction. Almost everything about this house is fiction, the balcony, the pieces of art for a medieval feel, the bed and the list goes on – all created by men to breathe life into the fictitious enduring love of Romeo and Juliet.

On the other hand, there is no denying that the emotions that draw people to this house is real. You only need to read the messages on the wall or excerpts of letters to know that the emotions that accompany these messages are real. There is strength in these emotions. It defeats rationality and logic. The messages here aren’t all about lost love and looking to find their true love. For some, they have found their true love, while some found their true love after their visit to Juliet’s House and touching her right breast! I sincerely believe that this bit about Juliet’s house is not a marketing strategy.

A place to visit

Casa di Giulietta | House of Juliet | Juliet’s House – however you may refer to this medieval house, it seems to be a symbol of love forevermore.

While there are many interesting things to do in Verona, a visit to Juliet’s House should and must be one of them.

Romeo and Juliet in Fair Verona – a fictitious story – an indefinable, undeniable power of enduring love that lives on in so many ways, in so many lives.


Is this post valuable to you in planning your visit to Juliet’s House, Verona? If so, please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Scroll all the way down for more ideas and inspiring travel stories. Subscribe to join us at My Timeless Footsteps to receive all the latest news and events. As always, I am contactable at ggdaniel166@gmail.com for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.

Have a splendid time at Juliet’s House. Do return, to share your experiences as I would love to know more.

Georgina xx

If you choose to #travel, travel safely | #staysafe #stayinspired | Read now to #travel later. For latest on Covid-19 go to: CDC.GOV | WHO International


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There is a house in Verona that defeats rationality. A symbol of enduring love of fictitious Romeo and Juliet remains a place of pilgrimage for lovers.  The messages here are real. The emotions are strong. A must visit via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/
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2 Responses

  1. Georgina
    |

    Thank you so much for such a lovely and positive comment on my blog. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. I am glad you love Verona, a city with a unique charm and it has beautiful memories for you. The story of Romeo & Juliet is indeed timeless and am glad to have visited Juliet’s house in Verona. I hope that you will revisit Verona at some time in the future.

  2. adewyatt
    |

    Georgina, you write with knowledge and authority bringing the real without ever letting us lose the romance. I visited Juliet’s balcony nearly 30 years ago and was, despite knowing some of this detail (but not much) totally enchanted. I loved Verona even more than Venice. At school Shakespeare and in particular Romeo and Juliet captivated me. I vividly remember Friday afternoon was triple English Literature but I was hardly ever there as sport was my focus and we travelled a lot with it. Despite this it was the subject I gained my highest grades in, not saying much I know. The story grabbed me and remains timeless. To this day we can see the influences of Romeo and Juliet in so many films beyond the more obvious West Side Story etc.
    Verona is beautiful and the blogs, your writing and detail make it such a place to visit.
    Never get over how well these are presented and far more useful and informative that normal travel guides. Wonderful.

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