If you’re a big fan of Shakespeare, Verona is the place for you. After all, what drives most visitors to this town is the fact that three of his plays are set here: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Taming of the Shrew.
On Nov. 6, we departed Venice for Verona, a couple hours away. Once we got there, we approached a massive Roman amphitheater — not quite as big as the Colosseum, but big enough to earn the ranking of the third largest amphitheater in all of Italy, right behind the Colosseum and the arena at Capua.
Although the Verona amphitheater is considered a landmark, it wasn’t what we were looking for. We were on the hunt for the world-famous balcony of Juliet Capulet from the beloved Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet.
We walked past the amphitheater and sloshed our way through the rain down a long alley with shops on both sides. The sound of rain gently tapping on our umbrellas created a relaxing ambiance that set the mood for this somewhat sleepy city.
At last, we arrived at the main attraction: Juliet’s balcony.
Funny thing is, it’s not clear if Shakespeare actually visited Verona or if the characters are real or fictional. Yet, it has become a world-renowned tourist attraction that hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to daily.
The main attraction is an open space with a bronze, life-size statue of Juliet — perfect for posing in photos next to. Only, to my surprise, most of the people trying to get pictures with her were doing so while grabbing her breast.
I later read that rubbing her breast will give you good luck in your love life (perhaps something I need a bit of). However, so many people have touched her breast that it’s given Juliet a bit of bad luck. I read that a few years ago, the original statue was replaced by a replica due to wear and tear and cracks from so many people touching it.
Above the statue of Juliet is her famed balcony. I must admit that it was a lot smaller than I expected it to be. Beneath the balcony is a famous passage from Romeo and Juliet in which Romeo professes his love for Juliet.
There’s also a wall to the left, where couples can add their own padlocks — or love locks — and messages of love — similar to the renowned Pont des Arts bridge in Paris.
With so many tourists gathered in this small space, it was difficult to envision how the scene from Romeo and Juliet would actually play out in real life. Yet, on the other hand, I think it’s pretty cool that I can say I saw Juliet’s balcony with my own two eyes.