After watching the movie and writing a movie review for “Letters To Juliet”, I was so fascinated by the concept of Juliet’s Wall, that I decided to investigate further. And I was happy to find that Juliet’s Wall really does exist in Verona, Italy.
Juliet is, of course, Juliet Capulet from the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet. In Verona, there is a house that claims to be where Juliet lived, with the balcony where she supposedly spoke to Romeo below in the courtyard as he professed his love to her. Today, Juliet’s house is a much-visited tourist attraction where lovers and romantics of all ages go to visit. In the courtyard, there is also a bronze statue of Juliet that has its own meaning. It is said that if someone strokes the breast of Juliet, then that person will have good fortune in the love department. So naturally, many tourists like to play along and rub their hand across the statue, hoping to be lucky in love.
Under the balcony, the wall of Juliet’s house is graffiti-filled with written messages, as well as actual handwritten letters which are placed between the bricks. The idea is that the spirit of Juliet will read your love request and that somehow it would be granted. Any time of day or night, you might see several women sitting on various benches and seats in Juliet’s courtyard with pen and paper in hand, all the while weeping as they write down their sad love stories. Others are smiling as they tell Juliet of a great love that they were fortunate to have. However, an overwhelming majority of the letters are from the lovelorn searching for answers.
Eventually, a restoration was done on Juliet’s house, and large panels were placed on the walls where people are now able to write their love messages on those instead of directly on the walls. The panels are taken down and replaced twice a year, once before Valentine’s Day on February 14th and again before September 17th which is Juliet’s birthday. The old panels are not destroyed since they are now considered to be popular art. Visitors regularly take pictures of the graffiti-filled panels, and the town of Verona is actually thinking about erecting a museum in order to display all the old panels.
In the movie “Letters To Juliet”, we see Amanda Seyfried’s character get involved with a group of “secretaries” who collect the letters placed between the bricks and then send responses. In Verona, Italy today, there is a voluntary organization that is called Club di Giulietta, or the Juliet Club. Since Juliet’s Wall is such a large part of Verona’s culture and a huge tourist attraction, the ladies of the Juliet Club take their work very seriously in responding to each letter. They will enlist the help of local people when needed for anything from translations of other languages, to psychological help in order to respond to people with love problems that seem overwhelming.
Along with letters collected from the wall, people from all over the world mail their letters to the city and they are promptly forwarded to the ladies of the club. They receive about one hundred letters each week and the city of Verona provides money for the stationery and postage with which to reply to the senders.
Taking our romantic natures one step further, since May of 2009, it has been possible for couples to get married at Juliet’s house. The romantic aura of the balcony and the courtyard is magical for many people since this is where Romeo and Juliet professed their undying love for one another. So on any given Monday, the site is closed to visitors, and weddings are performed amidst the beautiful facade of exposed bricks and the legendary balcony.
While researching the information regarding Juliet’s Wall, I found it interesting to read some of the people’s reviews who have actually visited Verona, Italy, and stopped by this famous tourist spot. I wanted to see what they said. Like most opinions that are asked, the replies varied widely. On the down side, some visitors said it was crowded, with too many souvenir shops selling Romeo and Juliet items, and one women didn’t like the fact that the two young lovers died in the end of the story. She has a good point there.
However, I’m happy to say that there seemed to be many more positive responses than negative ones. That says to me that most of us can still be called true romantics at heart. Of course we know that “Juliet” cannot respond to our questions about love, but isn’t just a little bit exciting to imagine that she can? If I ever find myself to have the good fortune to visit Italy, I would definitely put Juliet’s Wall in Verona on my itinerary as a must-see. And maybe I’ll write about love too. As to what I’d write? Let that be a secret between me and Juliet.