A to Z of Balconies – Verona

Supposedly the location of the famous balcony scene from Shakespeare’s love story, Juliet’s house in Verona is a popular romantic shrine and tourist honey-trap where lovers leave messages to each other on the walls and attach the dreadful lovelocks to the fences and the railings.

Although the place has become a major destination for tourist pilgrimage the house of course has no connection at all with the bard’s fictional characters and although it is old and looks authentic enough, the balcony was actually added in 1936 and declared to be “Juliet’s house” by the city authorities in a blatant attempt to cash in on the Shakespeare connection and to attract more tourists.

The balcony overlooks a tiny courtyard containing a dainty bronze statue of a graceful Juliet and people were waiting impatiently for their turn to be photographed with the heroine and to touch her right breast which is supposed to bring good fortune but I was worried that public groping was inappropriate and ever so slightly ungentlemanly so I steered clear and elected to do without the good luck boost and on the way out decided not to waste my money on a lottery ticket next weekend.

It is an interesting fact that thirteen of the thirty-seven plays of William Shakespeare were set either completely or partly in Italy and if we rule out the ten English history plays (which naturally have to be set in England) then half of the remainder of the major works are set in the Italian states and no one knows for sure just why.

Those who question Shakespeare’s authorship make the point that he sets his plays in Venice, Milan and Florence not Warwick, Oxford and York and they just may have a point!

The plays in which some or all of the action is set in Italy are: All’s Well that Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Winter’s Tale.

“Ever a shadow, he disappears, all but utterly, from 1585 to 1592….There is not a more tempting void in literary history, nor more eager hands to fill it” – Bill Bryson on Shakespeare.

19 responses to “A to Z of Balconies – Verona

  1. There is no balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet. The word “balcony” never appears in Shakespeare’s play. In fact, Shakespeare didn’t know what a balcony was. Not only was there no balcony in Romeo and Juliet, there was no balcony in all of Shakespeare’s England.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very tight balconies there, maybe just for two!

    Like

  3. I too was a bit nonplussed by all the fuss about a “real” balcony which in fact is fictitious. Blatant commercial opportunism! Nevertheless I thought Verona was a beautiful city and actually got to attend the opera in the wonderful open theatre. Regarding Juliet’s good luck touch, I guess we should all be grateful that there isn’t an equivalent gesture with Michaelangelo’s David…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The only play, I think, where Shakespeare named two characters after letters in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Bill Bryson quote is interesting

    Like

  6. A very controversial balcony it seems!

    Like

  7. Pingback: A to Z of Balconies – Verona – MobsterTiger

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.