(Note: I have been in Italy for the past two weeks for a study abroad program. I was going to take a hiatus from blogging while I'm here, but I just can't do it. So occasionally, I'll make blog posts about my trip, tips for anyone studying abroad or just visiting Italy, etc. I will sometimes include fashion posts, but for the rest of June, until I'm home again, I will be posting about my time here. Hope you enjoy!)
“Romeo and Juliet” has been named one of the most romantic, iconic stories of all time…and also the most cliché. Many who read the play, including myself, have been subjected by our cynicism to think those who find the play romantic are absolutely crazy. What’s romantic about a 13 and 15-year-old meeting, declaring love, and dying within three days time? Something just doesn’t add up there.
Despite it all, the hopeless romantic in me could not resist a trip to Verona, where “Romeo and Juliet” is set. I visited to see the opening night performance of the opera “Aida” in the Verona Arena. I knew nothing about the opera and I have never seen one before, but if a chance to see one on opening night in Italy pops up…well that’s just something you don’t skip. Though I loved the opera, I will admit I was more impressed by the city of Verona itself.
What a beautiful city it is. With its arena (the third biggest in the world), lovely river, and lack of tourists and street venders compared to bigger cities like Florence and Rome, Verona has a quiet spirit to it.
Now of course if you go to Verona and do not visit the supposed homes of Romeo and Juliet, you have not done the city justice. Romeo’s house is private as people do live there, so you can only see the outside. However, Juliet’s House is probably the biggest tourist attraction in Verona. Tucked into the shopping strip, one turns and sees a small alleyway with walls full of graffiti, telling of couples and their love for each other. Then you walk through into the courtyard, which is the busiest. To the left there is the famed “Club di Guiliette” and a gift shop. To the right, there are plaques giving the history of the house. At the back, one sees a gate filled with locks. The locks are put there by couples celebrating their love. Next to the gate is the famous statue of Juliet. The idea is that if you rub her right breast, you will receive good luck in finding love. Many people crowd the statue waiting for their turn to get a picture. Overlooking the courtyard is the iconic balcony where the “Wherefore art though Romeo” scene of the play takes place. For a price, one can venture into the house and go stand on the balcony.
If you have seen the movie “Letters to Juliet”, you know about the tradition of writing letters to Juliet and getting them answered. Well, that is a real thing. All around the walls, one can see pieces of gum. The gum is from people writing letters to Juliet with questions and confessions of love. This tradition has been going on for decades. The Juliet Club takes the letters and writes back to each one. Of course, I wrote a letter myself. Recently, there has been a law placed saying that people can no longer stick the letters to the wall because it defaces the property. However there is an envelope stuck to a door where one can put a letter.
So even if romance is not your thing and you don’t think you can stand the cliché love for the famed William Shakespeare play, Verona is a must for anyone who travels to Italy. The city oozes romance and history and has a peaceful atmosphere to it. I cannot wait to return.
If you would like to send Juliet a letter, you can! Check our their website, http://www.julietclub.com/en/, for information on how to mail a letter.