Friday, April 11, 2014

Shakespeare Was Never Here

To state the obvious:  Shakespeare was never in Italy.  Romeo and Julie is a play.  That is, it is a work of fiction.  Because of these two facts, there cannot be, nor ever was, Juliet Capulet's balcony.

That did not stop thousands of tourists from coming to Verona in order to find the famous balcony.  And it did not stop the city, with lire and now euros in their eyes, from designating a certain house with a balcony on a courtyard, conveniently on Via Cappello (note the similarity to "Capulet"), the Casa di Giulietta.  The square with Dante's statue, and the palace where he wrote much of Purgatory, is largely empty.  So, too, is the Roman Amphitheater.  History and Literature have nothing over Romance and Sex. On this slow spring day, there were hundreds of people -- with school kids and Japanese tourists in the majority -- crammed into the 50-by-30-foot court, in order to write notes to Juliet (answered, we are told, but a society of Juliet followers), go up to the balcony and have their picture taken, or -- most popular by a long shot, among boys and girls, men and woman -- a big squeeze of Juliet's bronze breast.

Here are my images of this site of hormonal excess.  I only wish I had a photograph of me taking a photograph of a young Japanese woman, at her request.  She politely asked that I take a photo of her with her cell phone.  I asked if she wanted to be under the balcony, or she wanted me to wait so she could go up and stand on the balcony.  She looked at me with some surprise and perhaps a little pity, and then promptly walked up to the statue and put her hand right where the previous four hundred people today had put it.  She smiled broadly for the camera.  Travel mission accomplished.

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