During a three-day weekend last month we decide to go on a day trip to Verona. Yup, Verona, as in the setting of William Shakespeare’s famous Romeo and Juliet. Or, more recently, where the movie Letters to Juliet took place.
We geared up with coffee, change for tolls, and headed out on the two-hour drive.
When we left our town it was a beautiful sunny day, but the closer we got to fair Verona, the sun disappeared and was replaced by thick, dense fog. It was so intense that it was almost a little eerie. Luckily, it lifted a little bit just as we rolled into town.
So, Kenny and I keep going to new cities without actually researching or planning what to do. We just get there and then wander around. We didn’t even know where to park when we got into town, but luckily, they have parking signs everywhere, so we followed the signs and it took us to the coolest parking garage EVER.
It was extremely well-lit, ridiculously clean, and there were lights above the parking spots to let you know if the space was occupied or not. Seriously, it’s genius and I wish every parking structure would be like this.
Anywho, after we parked in the awesome space we bundled
up and hit the town. (That’s sarcasm…we really take the “not planning”
to a whole new level, because we just brought light jackets with us
even though it was literally freezing outside. Whoops.) I loved the
medieval architecture still present throughout the city.
The place where we parked was right around the corner from the
pedestrian-friendly market in Piazza Bra. There’s nothing better than being able to
walk around with out the fear of being run over.
The market was full of sweets. Chocolate, pastries, hot drinks, waffles with nutella…yeah, it was a sugar-lovers dream.
One thing that blew my mind about Verona was the massive
amphitheater sitting right smack dab in the middle of the town. Just like that, you’re walking along and then, BAM! There’s a giant Colosseum right there in front of you! I have much more to say about it and lot of pictures of the inside, but that it’ll have to wait for another post on a different day.
With no agenda, we just started walking around. Of course, I was on the constant lookout for “Casa di Giulietta” or “The House of Juliet.” I heard it could be a little hard to find since it’s nestled into a tiny nook within Verona, but I was excited to see it. I never studied Shakespeare, but I have read Romeo and Juliet and I’ve watched the the movie (with Leo and Claire, of course) dozens of times, but there’s something exciting about seeing a piece of fiction brought to life. Luckily, after lunch, we spotted a clue to help us on our merry way!
After a few more twists and turns, we found the entrance. Well hello, Juliet! There were dozens of people in the teensy courtyard! I can’t even imagine what it would be like during the summer.
You’re actually allowed to tour the house and go out onto the balcony, but we didn’t do that this time. I figured we would go back, so if I reallllllly wanted to channel Juliet and wait for my Romeo out on the balcony, I can do that later.
There was a girl there that would. not. freaking. leave. I waited at least 10 minutes for her to move so I could take that picture above. The thing was, she was up there talking on her phone. She wasn’t posing for a picture or even reciting sonnets. She was talking on her phone. I was thisclose to actually paying the money to go into the house and out onto the balcony just to get her to leave. I can feel my blood pressure rising again just talking about it!
Anyway, contrary to popular belief (from the movie Letters to Juliet), there really isn’t a wall where people from around the world leave love letters for Juliet…not really. There is a place inside where you can leave a letter, but I don’t know what happens from there.
As you can see from the pictures below, people don’t really waste time with using old-fashioned paper, because there are love notes scribbled all over the walls within Casa di Giuletta. It’s another folklore that if you write on the wall it will ensure your love is everlasting. I need to remember to bring a sharpie with me next time.
Not only are there love letters, but there are little locks scattered throughout the area. You’re supposed to write you and your love’s name on the lock, secure it somewhere within the vicinity, and then throw away the key, symbolizing that your love will be locked away forever. Note to self: also remember to bring a lock.
It’s a shame Romeo and Juliet didn’t think of that, because it sounds a lot less painful than the method they chose…just sayin’.
There’s one more thing you have to do when you visit Casa di Giulietta and that’s to rub Juliet’s boobs. No, that’s not a typo; you’re really supposed to rub the statue’s breasts! Actually, the legend says if you stroke the right breast it will bring you good fortune. Here’s to a lifetime of good fortune!
I loved checking out Juliet’s digs and can’t wait to go back sometime soon, and possibly stay overnight. The city itself was great—lots of shops, bars (cafes), and very pedestrian friendly.
I mentioned the amphitheater at the very beginning, and I have more to say on that, so hopefully I can get my act in gear and write that post ASAP. I definitely overcame one of my biggest fears by stepping foot into that place. I’ll tell you about that later!