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? :-)
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!