Saturday, December 8, 2012

Romeo, Romeo......

It might very well have been a scenario in his imagination but if the fair Juliet and the handsome Romeo had existed, they surely would have lived in Verona.

Known as piccola Roma (little Rome) for its importance in imperial days, this little gem of a city became more important during the 13th and 14th centuries when the Della Scala family led it through its golden age.  It was during this time that there were family feuds and thus, the idea for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was born.

Verona is, without a doubt, the most beautiful city I've ever, ever visited.  When our friends from Padua heard we would be visiting Verona, they told us that it is considered to be THE most beautiful city in all of Italy but even then, I was not prepared.

Each piazza outdoes the next.  Beautiful architecture, once privately owned palazzos that still stand proudly, Italian colors, cobblestone streets, flowers......if it is a thing of beauty, it is found in Verona.  And, the approaching Christmas holiday makes it extra beautiful.  Tastefully decorated shop windows and entrance ways are but a small part of what is happening in preparation.  Right now, there is a huge German Christmas market and everywhere, festive touches, happy and prosperous people.

The retail life in Verona is alive and well.  Narrow streets that traverse the city, decked out for Christmas, sell expensive and gorgeous articles of clothing, jewelry and accessories.  The women are all very well dressed, head to toe and the gentlemen, dressed like gentlemen of a forgotten era.
Couples walk arm-in-arm and everyone carries a shopping bag or two, holding a recent purchase from one of the fine stores that line the vias that lead down to the famous via  Cappelo where Juliet's house is found.

Juliet's house, of course we know it is fictitious, but for one moment in time, it becomes the very home that the two star-crossed lovers put on the map for all of us to enjoy.  Yes, there is a balcony and a courtyard and it is in the courtyard that the statue of Juliet gets her rubs.....legend has it that if you rub her breast and make a wish for a lover in your life, your wish will become a reality.

I already have my Romeo.  No need to rub Juliet.  But let me tell you, if I were in the market for a nice life, Verona would be the place for me and I would be there in the courtyard, looking dreamily up to that balcony, rubbing and wishing for a man like Joe.

The next time you find yourself in Italy, find your way to Verona.  I'll meet you there.

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