About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wall Valentines in Verona

Serendipity-the art of finding something valuable and unexpected. In honor of Valentine's Day on Sunday I thought you might enjoy some travel serendipity that I experienced in Verona, Italy a couple of years ago. When traveling in Italy you expect romance. In Venice we rode plush gondolas on the Grand Canal, ate in outdoor cafes served by flirtatious waiters, listened to concerts in St. Mark's Square at night, and explored the shops with the local "beautiful" people. But it was Verona that surprised me with its local treasure--Juliet's graffiti wall.

On a walking tour of Verona's town center, our tour guide led us to a small street that was teeming with tourists wanting to visit the 12th century family home of the Cappellos, or, according to Shakespeare, the home of Juliet Capulet.
They wanted to see the famous balcony from which Juliet leaned out to chat with her forbidden young lover, Romeo Montague. We all know how badly that turned out. Romeo and Juliet lives on though, even in modern times, as the classic tale of star-crossed lovers. As early as 1937 people from all over the world started sending messages of love to Verona, some simply addressed, "To Juliet in Verona." Around Valentine's Day and Juliet's birthday in September, locals begin writing or drawing messages for their beloveds on the doors and walled passageway leading to the Capulet courtyard. Tourists soon followed suit. Now there are messages in many languages covering the walls. And look closely at the statue of Juliet in the courtyard. Notice that her right breast gleams. Visitors believe that stroking her right breast brings them good luck in love!

Here's some closeup shots of the area. First, the street where Juliet lived and the arched passageway to the right:

This is the arched passageway leading to the courtyard. Notice that the messages go all the way up the wall. I saw a woman sitting on her partner's shoulders so she could write her message up high:
Here's a closeup of some of the messages. Some stuck on with chewing gum. At one time there was an attempt to install screens in the passageway for people to write electronic messages. That didn't go over. Kind of like getting an e-card. . .

Here's another view of the doorway with layers and layers of messages.
I must confess that I left a post-it message on the wall myself before heading back to the square for lunch. How could you not take that opportunity? :-)

A final valentine from Italy. Although not Milan, Verona was very fashionable. It's
streets were jammed with fabulous clothing shops, including this one for wedding apparel.

When we got off the ferry from Venice to mainland Italy, a wedding party was waiting on the dock to take a launch out to a cruise ship. Is that romantic, or what? And I wish you could have seen the bride's sandals--tied at the ankles with organza bows. Fantastic! I hope you've enjoyed this little romantic expedition in Italy. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you! And chocolate, of course!


The Church Lady said...

How neat! I would love to visit Italy some day. Romeo and Juliet is a classic. Thanks for the romantic tour!

Debs said...

I love Italy, but have never been to Verona.

I would also have had to leave a message there.

Jan n Jer said...

Thanks for the tour Faye...very interesting. I would have left a message on that wall also. My Step son n family are going to Italy over the summer...I am going to send them your link so they can read up on this beautiful little town. Happy Valentines Day!

Pamela said...

I did. enjoy!

thats probably the closests I'll ever get to being a tourist in Italy

Gay, Married, with Cat said...

I love it when you describe your travels; such interesting journeys (adventures?).

(Sigh) You now have me dreaming of a trip to Italy...

Here's wishing you the best!

gracie said...

next time, please take me with you!

Lil Mouse said...

All those love messages. Sweet. Fun Monday linky is up if you want to play! I always enjoy your entries!

Faye said...

church lady--great thing about travel, never know where you'll find fodder for a blog post. In Venice it was carnivale costumes for a Halloween post.

debs--would you be surprised to know that my message was "missing Willie the Pit Bull"? :-)

janis-thanking for sending my link to step son. There's a couple of other Italy posts he may enjoy.

pamela--lately armchair travel is getting very attractive--glad I could give you a little tour of Italy.

gay, married w/cat --nice to hear from you from snowy Philadelphia. Hope you're well and happy and glad you enjoyed this travel adventure.

gracie-- keep up with that Jillain Michael's training and maybe we could go to Greece and survive climbing those hills! :-) I'm longing to do that.

lil mouse--apparently some tourists visit the wall with their colored markers and already written messages ready for display. See you on Fun Monday.