Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Romeo, O Romeo...

Verona Italy. The setting Shakespeare used for his iconic love story.

With a large wall surrounding its medieval and renaissance  architecture, bordered alongside a winding crisp blue river overlooked by village topped hills, it would have been hard to choose a more beautiful location.

Hoards of tourists flock to the city in search of the location where Romeo proclaims: "But soft, what light from yonder window breaks?" And the city has made provisions for them to find it. During the day, Casa di Giulietta is overrun with Shakespeare enthusiasts. Teenage girls rush up to the balcony that was added to a random house in 1936 to attract tourists. Men touch the right breast of a full size statue of Juliet in the courtyard. It's said to bring good luck, although it's not likely luck is their reason.

All along the entryway are love notes, wishes and other letters to Juliet scrawled in any available space. Plastered to the wall directly across from the balcony is chewing gum, once said to be fashioned into the shape of hearts but are now only a collage of blobs. The final tokens of love are locked to the wall next to Juliet's statue - the keys no where to be found.

Not being one who has ever been fond of his literature, I only went to the house to take pictures. (The best time to go is early morning to avoid the crowds, I later discovered).

My purpose in visiting Verona, though, was for an entirely different love story. An Egyptian one written in the city 100 years ago, played during my stay in the open Roman amphitheater... making Aida trump Romeo and Juliet any day. 

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