Date: September 8, 2016
"In fair Verona, where we lay our scene..."
Hundreds of years ago, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet made Verona famous and each year in early September, they are celebrated. Revelers roam the streets of Verona dressed in romantic period costumes to celebrate the young love-struck heroine’s birthday. Festivities include parades of the infamous Courts of the Montagues and Capulets, dancing, street artists, musicians and lots of food.
A house thought to be the Capulets', with Juliet's balcony, is one of the most visited sites in Verona. In the house’s small courtyard stands a bronze statue of Juliet and legend has it that if a person strokes the statue's right breast, that person will be blessed with good fortune. Many have practiced the tradition, as is evidenced by the statue’s very worn right breast.
Visitors can also gaze at the Wall of Letters that Juliet receives, written and sent by truly romantic and love struck people from around the world. It’s hard not to feel touched by the passion and genuineness in the thousands of notes that adorn the wall. The tradition of sending letters to Juliet may go back centuries. It began when people started to leave notes on a local landmark said to be Juliet's tomb. Later, people started sending mail directly to the city. By the 1990s, Verona was receiving so many letters, it created an office to handle them – the Juliet Club. Each year the club office receives more than 6,000 letters and they are all answered by hand. The club also organizes Juliet’s Birthday celebration and festivities.
If you are fortunate enough to be in Verona during the festival, there will be plenty of photo ops and a chance to go back in time for what promises to be a day filled with romance and magic.
Photo credit: AleGranholm