Home > Literary Escapades, Shakespeare William > Literary escapade: Verona

Literary escapade: Verona

I swear I’m not trying to visit all the locations Shakespeare used in his play but after Elsinore, I’ve had the chance to visit Verona. Shakespeare never set a foot in Verona but, as everyone knows, made the city famous with Romeo and Juliet. I’m not going to review Romeo and Juliet, I haven’t even reread it, it’s not my favourite play by Shakespeare. Too much teenage drama.

The city of Verona, like Elsinore with Hamlet, takes advantage of the ultra-famous lovers. Shakespeare has several statues in the city and they puzzled our children because he wears an earring (“Mom, do you really think Shakespeare had an earring?”).

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I checked afterwards, not all of Shakespeare’s alleged portraits show an earring. Anyway.

Somewhere in the old city center, there’s Juliet’s house with the famous balcony. It can’t be hers, of course, but it always gives you a sense of place. There are a lot of tourists under her balcony

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I didn’t see any Juliet impersonation saying O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? from the said balcony. Inside the house, they’ve recreated Juliet’s home, see what her bed is supposed to have been:

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Of course, there are lots of love-related gift shops around the place and two walls of graffiti of “X loves Y”. Seems like the way to a man’s heart is his stomach, even for a modern Juliet:

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Do I need to say what my feminist self thinks of this?

Near the river Adige, there’s via Shakespeare, lungadige Capuleti and Juliet’s supposed grave.

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Marketing and imagination do marvels. It’s like a bookworm version of Disney when you see the Sleeping Beauty’s castle. It’s unauthentic as possible but still fun to do.

The real literary thing about Verona is Dante’s statue.

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The great author was exiled in Verona and mentioned the city in The Divide Comedy. 

  1. August 17, 2015 at 2:01 am

    I think you should do a literary global tour not limited to Shakespeare. You could make us guess which books you were referencing at each location.

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    • August 17, 2015 at 11:34 am

      I’d love to. Not sure Husband would agree with that program though. 🙂

      Strangely there’s no mention of The Taming of the Shrew.

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      • August 19, 2015 at 6:32 pm

        Taming of the Shew is one of my favourite Shakespeares, but I always preferred his comedies anyway

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        • August 19, 2015 at 6:32 pm

          typo: shrew

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        • August 21, 2015 at 6:34 pm

          I like it a lot too. I’ve even watched the film.

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  2. August 17, 2015 at 8:48 am

    I love Verona, it’s one of favourite Italian cities for a short break.

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    • August 17, 2015 at 11:36 am

      It is a lovely city, I agree.

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  3. August 17, 2015 at 9:45 am

    LOL Like the statue of Giardano Bruno in Rome, where they burned him to death for heresy in 1660. “Oh, we’re sorry, all is forgiven, look, we’ve put up a statue of you”.

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    • August 17, 2015 at 11:37 am

      No, that’s different. Dante was exiled from Florence to Verona and he was grateful for the warm welcome he received in Verona.

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  4. August 20, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Verona is lovely. Extraordinary how the play’s been monetised. I’ve never wholly bought it as a great love story – they’re a couple of adolescents overwhelmed by first love. If they’d met ten years later they’d have been a bit more patient and there’d have been a lot fewer bodies.

    In truth, shameful as this may be I like it best as the inspiration for West Side Story:

    “When you’re a Jet you’re a Jet all the way, from your first cigarette to your last dying day”.

    “I want to be in America, everything’s free in America”
    “For a small fee in America!”

    I may be wandering off topic however.

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    • August 21, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      I totally agree with you. Verona is lovely, a step in the past. I didn’t know where to watch, there are so many old buildings.

      On Romeo and Juliet: yes, a thousand times yes. This is adolescent first love. Impulsive. Passionate. Poor communication. Dramatic. For me, adult love is The Age of Innocence.

      Plus the family feud thing tends to put me off. (and the I-love-you-but-you-killed-my-father so-we-can’t-be-together thing. That would be Le Cid by Corneille)

      I never made the connection with West Side Story.

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  5. August 31, 2015 at 12:27 am

    I think literary tourism is a wonderful thing – there’s nothing better than having a reason to visit a place rather than to just “visit” though just visiting has its pleasures of course. I often look for literary connections when I’m travelling.

    I love Italian towns, but haven’t been to Verona. It, however, is on my list.

    PS Max … love West Side Story. It’s a great adaptation of the story. Of course you’re right – I think – about their just being adolescents overwhelmed by first love – but that just increases the tragedy. And, whether or not it would have turned into a mature long-lasting love, I can still buy it as a great love story!

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    • August 31, 2015 at 10:21 pm

      I really enjoy literary tourism. Unfortunately, sometimes signs in literature museums are not translated. It’s the case of the Literature museum in Vienna. It seemed interesting but everything was in German…

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      • September 1, 2015 at 12:34 am

        Ah yes, Emma. I remember being very disappointed about signage in a literary museum in Kanazawa. At least I’d have a fighting chance in Verona … I’d recognise the name for a start, but in Kanazawa … none.

        Literary tourism for me is also checking out places the writers had been, written about, etc.

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        • September 1, 2015 at 9:09 pm

          I like visiting a writer’s home. Balzac’s museum in Paris is rather moving, they have the table on which he wrote La Comédie Humaine and his coffee pot.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. August 31, 2015 at 12:28 am

    Forgot to tick the notify me of comments! Doing it now.

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