Marijana Milićević brings us to Verona, where the most beautiful and tragic love story of all time took place.
The romantic city
The 21st century brought us a lot of good things and, perhaps, we can now enjoy the greatest freedom of expression ever, also thanks to various new types of communication. However, we often find ourselves to regret that nobody understands us, slowly starting to forget how to read the emotions on the faces of people around us. Do not great and true love exist at all? Well, if we talk about great and true love, many romantics will counter with this famous William Shakespeare’s quote: ‘love is born, lives and dies in the eyes’.
A place that will surely bring us back to the path of true love and romance is the city of Verona, in Northern Italy. Verona is a jewel of medieval architecture and art, as it is common in Italy. Nonetheless, while other cities attract travelers from all over the world with luxurious buildings and a rich local history, Verona has a trump card: the most beautiful and tragic love story of all time, the story of Romeo and Juliet.
Juliet’s house (Casa di Giulietta) is one of Verona’s main attractions, due to the most famous balcony in the world. This is the ‘Stallo del Cappello‘, an old tower house dating back to around years 1200-1300. According to tradition, this was the house of the Capulet family, the family of Shakespeare’s heroine. Damaged over the centuries, the house and its picturesque courtyard have been restored with the clever use of architectural and decorative elements inspired by the medieval age.
Couples who enter the courtyard of Juliet’s house for the first time, will be struck by the thousands of small scraps of paper covering everything from the floor to the ceiling. According to an old belief, all those who write down their love and stick a paper on the wall, swear to their partners eternal love. Apart from the famous love story, Juliet’s house has other interesting attractions to offer. The house delights the visitors with its beautiful 14th century Gothic style. Moreover, there can be found numerous exhibits from the time of Romeo and Juliet that give a good impression of life in ancient Verona.
It seems that here, as in the case of the tomb of Oscar Wilde, love can be an equally powerful trigger for hooliganism as well as hatred. That is why it is better to forget about this widespread cynicism, especially when the view falls on the chest of the statue of Juliet. The visitors’ habit of touching its breast in order to have happiness in love, has meant that this part of the bronze statue never succumbs to oxidation. Therefore, Juliet’s chest bizarrely but beautifully shines in the sun, more as a reference to sin than as a symbol of tragic love.
The Montecchi house was located in Via Arche and, according to legend, it was the home of Romeo. All those who find themselves on a stone-paved street in front of this house, will remember from the book that Montecchi was a powerful and wealthy family from Verona. Of all the typically medieval houses, this is the most grandiose and relatively well conserved one. The construction is arranged on three sides around an ample closed coutryard up the street, where the entrance stands on a high embattled wall.
Romeo’s house looks like a castle, with its large tower and the high defensive wall. This shape dates back to an age during which Italy was divided into two feudal factions: the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. Family supporting one side or the other were mortal enemies, although they lived in the same town. That is why the Montagues, even in the very center of Verona, where they were protected by the water of the Adige river and by the city walls, felt the need to build such a secure stronghold.
In conclusion, all those who suspect that love hides from us, should walk through those streets which, according to legend and Shakespeare’s love sonets, reveal the houses of the eternal lovers, Romeo and Juliet.