Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Exquisite Europe * Romance of Verona, Italy (December 2010)

On our way to Florence from Venice, we passed by this small village called Verona.  Verona is the home of Romeo and Juliet, the Shakespearean  book that is ever so famous to all lovers, and those who seek love.  I have actually never read it in full, as the wordings are really difficult to understand.  But of course, we studied at one point the summary and watched the movie.  Who wouldn’t know about Romeo and Juliet?  Love, after all, is universal!

Our first stop was of course the famous balcony of Juliet, now a part of the museum.  The rest of the courtyard leads to a spa, a souvenir store, and what seems to be a restaurant.  A Christmas tree lies in the middle of the courtyard with all the love notes from people who have visited.  I had a nice time reading all the sweet and romantic notes hanged on the tree, some even wrote poetry.  These notes are not the letters to Juliet though, there was another area where you can drop it off.  From the movie “Letters to Juliet”, we know that there are some volunteer women who actually replies to these letters, up to this day.  And it is believed that this ritual brings luck to the one searching for love.  No one in our group was ready with a letter except for one of my nieces.

A bronze statue of Juliet or “Giuletta” in Italian, stands below the balcony, and it is the belief that one who touches one of the breast will find love.  Therefore, only the single ones are meant to follow this ritual.  And me being me, I was skeptical.  How will a ritual like that bring love?   But what’s to lose.  So together with the rest of the group, I took on the ritual of touching the breast, which turned out to be ice cold in the winter, LOL.  Everybody in our group had to go and touch it too, including my married brother who was playing around kissing the breast instead, LOL.

My niece, the one with the letter, after a long time contemplating and some pursuading from other family members, finally made her way up to the balcony.  She was hesitating because of the 6 euros she had to pay which was for the museum visit and a chance to go out onto the balcony.  But for her, she was just interested in going to the balcony, LOL.  Well, we do everything for love, right?  I took a couple of photos of her, and asked one of my younger nephews to stand below like Romeo, and had them both act out the scene.  My niece's reaction was "yewww!".  Oh well, we can photoshop Romeo with the real one, once Juliet sends him over, LOL.

On the entrance to the square, was a dark tunnel that had graffiti all over the call, with 4 phones that looked like the typical public phone.  These phones were actually recordings, where you drop a coin to hear an overview of this place.  And the graffiti, extremely dense, was all about love.  There is also one section of the wall that looked like a bunch of chewing gum stuck on the wall as design with some heart-shaped ones as well.  I'm hoping this is just Tak, but we can't really tell the difference after all it has all dried up.

After our rituals, we headed to the nearby piazza where a market was open selling souvenirs, winter accessories, fruits, etc.  It was interesting to see the stalls when closed, looked like the large garbage bins, then the top simply rises up with an automated mechanism when the store owner is ready to open, and all the goods being sold were actually displayed inside the box, and some hanging on the top roof already.  With very little organization, the store is ready minutes after it opens - an amazing invention.   Coffee shops and stores also line the piazza and the small alleyways around the area.  We saw a man in the middle of the street with his easel, and he was about to paint the scene of the piazza.  It was a cozy little town.

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