Having posed that question, I must admit I haven’t traveled extensively in Italy, but the tourist trap known as Juliet’s Balcony in Verona is tacky at best.
It matters not that Shakespeare never visited Verona, nor that his star-cross’d young lovers were fictional. Thousands flock to the 13th Century home once owned by the family Capello (somewhat similar to Capulet). I’m not generally given to flocking, but found myself kinda just swept there by the crowd anyway.
If the tone here sounds a touch cynical (well spotted), I must admit that there are signs all around that this may indeed have been the house of Capulet. The first clue is the plaque at the entrance which reads ‘Casa di Giulietta’ (Juliet’s house).
Things don’t get weird until the moment you enter. Graffiti isn’t uncommon of course at notable attractions, and lines the walls of the arched entrance to the courtyard… but the band-aids?! Okay, I can see the symbolism here. I guess nothing speaks true love like thousands of old band-aids.
Entering the courtyard proper we find people… lots of people… and further proof that this indeed is the spot where the teenage Juliet gazed down at the bronze statue of herself. Crowds mill around the statue, awaiting their chance to grope her well-polished right breast. This guarantees the fondler good luck in life and love.
Then of course there is the world-famous balcony itself, said to have been constructed when the City of Verona purchased the building from the Capello family in the early 20th Century for use as a tourist attraction. Women (mostly women) take their turn standing on the balcony, each looking less tragic than the last, and almost without exception yelling the same thing (take a wild guess) down to their beau below.
…and thus concludes a ten-minute visit to Juliet’s house. I’m sure there’s a gift shop, which I thankfully somehow managed to avoid.
For the record, the northern Italian city of Verona is beautiful.