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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Verona, at Juliet’s house


“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."

Those were the words of Romeo about Verona,  in the play Rome and Juliet by Shakespeare. He preferred to die rather than to be exiled and leave Verona. Because within the walls of Verona lived Juliet, the love of his life, for him life without her is like death. That is the theme of the play, about love and death.

Nowadays, the city is still considered as the hometown of Romeo and Juliet, Verona is the stage of the famous tragic play. The most famous spot in the city is the Casa di Giulietta, or Juliet’s House, located on Via Capello. As the story goes, this was the home of the Capulet family, Juliet’s family . It is here Juliet would have lived, and today it is a museum dedicated to her. The interior contains the furniture of a typical fourteenth century aristocratic household, enhanced by a wide range of medieval ceramics.

From the courtyard, we can see the famous balcony in the world—Juliet’s balcony. It is a tiny balcony where Juliet stood while Romeo declared his love. It is also the balcony where Romeo and Juliet planned the events that led to their tragic deaths. In the courtyard, the walls now are covered by love notes, written in many languages by visitors from all around the world. They believe if they write here, it will cast a lucky spell and their love will be eternal.

But, Romeo and Juliet’s life themselves were overshadowed by terrible fate. From the opening prologue it says that they will die, Romeo and Juliet are trapped by fate. Had Romeo not met  Benvolio on the very day of the Capulets’ ball, Romeo would not have met Juliet. Had friar Lawrence's messenger to Romeo not detained, who would have explained the plan by which Juliet was to pretend death, Romeo would have got the message. And had Romeo arrived just a few moments before Juliet wakes-up, Romeo would not have taken his own life.  It is their misfortune that leads to the sorrowful and tragic ending of the play. But, it is Romeo and Juliet's fiery passion of their love which makes their love eternal.  

In the center of the internal court stands a bronze statue of the beautiful and faithful Juliet, by Nereo Costantini.  According to legend, touching Juliet’s right breast will bring good luck in love. However, the affectionate gesture has brought bad luck to the statue. The repeated touching by tourists, newly weds, school boys, couples, has created large holes on the statue’s right breast, wrist and arms, and the holes are widening. Many people desperately inserted love notes and padlock keys through the cracks in the arms and breasts of the statue, in hope for luck in their love affairs.  The original statue then was removed, restored and placed inside Juliet's House in 2014, in order to protect it from damages. Now a replica  has been installed back in the courtyard of Juliet's House.

So Verona, a city on the Adige river in Veneto, continues to be the City of Love, It enshrines a myth that gently comes alive again across the medieval squares, through the alleys and shadowy courtyards.  Here it’s easy to fantasize about stories, figures, characters and events of the play. Romeo and Juliet’s myth is the trail of a dream. Love is the overriding theme of the play. Based on that theme the Verona Tourist Office wrote: ‘Se Ami Qualcuno Portarlo a Verona’ which means ‘If you love someone then take them to Verona’.

THE END







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