The city council in Verona is giving couples the chance to get married on the stone balcony where Romeo is said to have wooed Juliet in Shakespeare’s play.
The 14th-century Casa di Giulietta, or House of Juliet, is one of the top tourist spots in Verona, drawing more than a million people every year.
It was once the home of the Cappello family - possibly the model for the Capulets of Shakespeare’s play; however, historians say there is little evidence linking it to the tragic love story.
Mary Handley, an English businesswoman who’s been organising weddings for foreigners in Italy for the past six years, said she was sure the Juliet weddings would be popular. “It’s extremely romantic, the weather is usually co-operative and your photos are going to be wonderful,” she said. But she gave a warning that the bureaucracy could sometimes be complex and an interpreter was required by law if the couple didn’t speak Italian.
A balcony wedding will cost citizens of Verona 600 euros (£556 / $775). Couples from elsewhere in the European Union will have to pay 700 euros (£648 / $905), while non-EU couples will face a bill of 1,000 euros (£926 / $1,293).
Tourism councillor Daniele Polato said: “We’ll be offering tourist packages just like Las Vegas does, with wedding and honeymoon. It’s a way of using the city’s artistic heritage to boost tourism.”
Despite the lack of historical fact, the courtyard beneath the balcony contains a bronze statue of Juliet. It’s the custom for visitors hoping to be lucky in love to stroke her right breast, which is now highly polished.
‘Fair Verona,’ as Shakespeare called the city, is in north-east Italy and, as well as the Romeo and Juliet connection, is famous for its summer opera season. This takes place outdoors in the Roman amphitheatre called The Arena.
by Andy Moreton