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There is mail for Juliet!

Dear Juliet,

I won’t ask you if your history, which has distinguished Verona over time as the city of love, is true or a legend. The magic, strength, and power that your history has in keeping love alive for me are enough. For centuries you have shown to be a good listener, attentive to the sorrows of the heart, the friend who’s always there, and perhaps the last hope for those who no longer have anyone to share their dreams or confide their secrets. Dear friend, surely this year too on Valentine’s Day you will hear “there is mail for Juliet!”

Your city breathes (and sighs) love.

Many seek exactly your warmth to unburden themselves. They tell you about their sadness looking for a word of comfort, they ask for a suggestion on how to express their love (yes, dear Juliet, there are many Romeos who cannot speak of love). There are also those who want your advice on how to find their Romeo or their Juliet or either those who just want to tell you their story or a lived moment of happiness. The truth is that sooner or later that thing happens to everyone, we fall in love, and it doesn’t matter if for Mathew, Antony, Frank or Romeo, the question remains the same as yours “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

The mail for Juliet became a tradition

As long as there are questions, there will also be “Juliet’s secretaries” to answer them. Certainly, there is no shortage of questions for the team of volunteers in charge of picking up the mail for Juliet and answering every letter, even those addressed simply “Juliet, Verona”. Surely magic exists, considering that the letters for Juliet add up to 50.000 every year and they come from all around the world, written by the most varied senders, I mean, from the teenagers that have their first crush or the businessman in love.

The tradition of these letters goes back to 1937 when “the first Juliet’s secretary” Ettore Solimani, keeper of Juliet’s tomb, touched by the content of the letters left by visitors, started to collect, and answer them. He carried out this task alone for 20 years, solely for the pleasure of doing it. Ettore always had a word of comfort to offer and has signed each letter as “your Juliet” until 1957, when he was forced to retire. After that, the task was left to some volunteers, inhabitants of Verona, until 1972 when Giulio Tamassia, followed by a group of friends, had the idea of creating the Juliet Club, a non-profit cultural association whose sole purpose is to keep alive the story of the Veronese lovers, spreading their love around the world.

The Juliet Club makes every effort to support its daily task and if the story requires more attention, it seeks help from a local psychologist or from the institution capable of making their help concrete and meaningful. In addition to looking after the mail for Juliet, the Club organizes on the week of Valentine’s Day, the “Dear Juliet” prize which reaches its 30th edition and includes the choice of the most beautiful letters written in the previous year. Besides, it sets up the international literary prize “Writing for love” which includes the choice of the best love book published in Italy and “Juliet’s Birthday” party, in September, in the squares of Verona. The slogan this year (2022) is “Verona in Love – If you love someone, take them to Verona”. We join the choir “Love. (All we need is)”.

The identification of the noble Cappello family with the Capulets gave rise to the belief that the house above is Juliet’s house. As soon as we pass the entrance porch, we have in front of us the lovers’ balcony. Within walking distance of Juliet’s house, we find Romeo’s house.

Verona - city of Romeo and Juliet

On Valentine’s Day, love is waiting for us in Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet. Ten years ago,  I found myself by chance involved in this appointment and I must say that the air you breathe in the city on Valentine’s Day is different. It is possible to feel the magic along Cappello road where Juliet’s house is, and especially within its walls with the reenactment of the legendary balcony scene by the actors who revived the two lovers. In Verona, there is a lot to see. After crossing the gates of the medieval walls that surround the city, we find ourselves in front of the Arena, a Roman amphitheater that today hosts many cultural events. Following the romantic itinerary, we arrive in the square called “Piazza delle Erbe”, at Juliet’s house and, after some steps, at Romeo’s house. It’s also possible to go for a visit to the tomb of Juliet located in the “Museo degli Affreschi” [Fresco Museum].

In the city, some people say that Juliet’s house belonged to the Cappelletti family, which probably became Capulet in the Shakespearean legend, as well as that of Romeo Montecchi was the home of the Monticoli (in the Shakespearean works Montague) family. Nobody knows for sure. A mystery remains about the existence of the two Veronese lovers. For some the Montecchi and the Capulet existed; for others instead, Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, originally published in 1596, is only a fantasy. By now, it’s up to us to keep their story alive and to believe that true love exists. It’s up to us to keep it alive in our heart wherever we go in the world even if the words of Romeo imprinted on a plaque placed next to a small bust of Shakespeare at the entrance to the city says that “there is no world outside the walls of Verona” as if to tell us: love lives here.

arena de verona

To the cinema lovers there are two movies not to be missed or to be seen again: Romeo and Juliet, by Franco Zeffirelli, and Letters to Juliet, by Gary Winick.


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