Home > 2011 Posts > Will Hearts Verona

Will Hearts Verona

An arena, a bridge, a palace and a theater, that’s what we came to see. As archaeo-geeks in Italy, our channel-selector is set to All Roman All the Time – except of course when we’re Magna Graceans or Renaissance-ists. And, after Rome, Verona really is an archaeo-geek candy store.

But there was a pesky bard and a tale of two houses that distracted us, not to mention The Big Dogs and the Lion of Saint Mark, both of whom you can read about in future Verona posts.

In Verona, you find a reverence for a famous young lady who never lived there, or anywhere. She’s a made up character. but her house, complete with balcony, is close to the Piazza Erbe. And it definitely looks the part, though it’s only a restored 13th century inn. Her name, of course, is Juliet.

After exploring all thing both Roman and Veronan, we were having a marvelous, romantic lunch in the piazza, reveling in the archaeo-geek fact that it was the old Forum and still has a statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of Commerce (among other things) in the guise of the Madonna of Verona. It was there that we overheard two East Indian ladies at a nearby table talking effusively about their visit to Juliet’s house.

After lunch, we had to go there, didn’t we? Just to see? It’s not like a peek into the courtyard would have violated the Archaeo-Geek Code or anything. I think… but if Keith Richards had come out and slammed down a big book on the table, I may have had to eat my words.

In any case, I’m glad we went. Visitors, especially female visitors, from every part of the world stream in and out of there all day, as evidenced by the happy ladies from Mumbai. For us, it was fun and, for me, a great chance earn bonus Husband Points by comparing my bride to the sun in poetic Elizabethan phrases. At the same time, though, it was also a bit wistful and sad looking at the expressions on some of the women’s faces as they walked slowly or stood quietly.

During the few minutes we spent there, I was reminded of a passage from Lord Byron that I’d read long ago:

I have been over Verona… Of the truth of Juliet’s story, they seem tenacious to a degree, insisting on the fact – giving a date (1303), and showing a tomb. It is a plain, open and partly decayed sarcophagus, with withered leaves in it, in a wild and desolate conventual garden, once a cemetery, now ruined to the very graves. The situation struck me as very appropriate to the legend, being blighted as their love. I have brought away a few pieces of the granite, to give to my daughter and my nieces.”

That irritating bard! Imagine him having the gall to make a flight of fancy one of the most real gifts that humanity has ever received. There’s just no accounting for folks some times.

If you have an interest in such things, there is a pleasant romantic comedy, Letters to Juliet, with Amanda Seyfried, that is set partly in Verona and whose cinematographer does a good job putting the romantic feel of the place onto the screen.

Together with Shakespeare in Love, you can watch an entertaining double-feature and bump up your Culture Quotient at the same time.

We have. A couple times.

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  1. June 28, 2011 at 8:32 am

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