Valentine's Day in Verona, the Capital of Love
What could be more romantic than spending Valentine’s Day in Verona, the beautiful Northern Italian town where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was supposedly set?
That’s probably what the folks at Airbnb were thinking when they decided to launch a new contest earlier this year, the winner of which will get to spend the night in the house that, according to legend, belonged to the Capulets. This includes sleeping in Juliet’s bed – the one used in Franco Zeffirelli’s acclaimed 1968 cinematic adaptation of the play – as well as a private dinner for two prepared by famous chef Giancarlo Perbellini.
Unfortunately, this year’s contest is no longer accepting applications but the city offers plenty more Valentine’s Day-themed activities. Still through Airbnb, you have the chance to reserve themed tours through the most picturesque parts of the historical city and immerse yourself in a romantic fantasy, which will be documented by a professional photographer. And you can end the experience with a fancy five-course dinner in the Michelin-starred Casa Perbellini.
Another option is join the Juliet Club, the team of people – featured in the 2010 romantic comedy starring Amanda Seyfried, “Letters to Juliet” – who answer the letters addressed to “Juliet, Verona.” You can volunteer to become one of Juliet’s secretaries for a day and help respond to the thousands of letters sent to the romantic heroine from all over the world.
Needless to say, all of these experiences – with the exclusion of the Airbnb contest - can be enjoyed year-round, not just on Valentine’s Day. And the beautiful city of Verona is certainly worth a visit, whether or not you’re the romantic type. Juliet’s home, a medieval palazzo located in the central Via Cappello, is undoubtedly a valuable historical and architectural landmark.
During the 1940s, it underwent extensive restorations to reinforce the myth and recreate a more “Renaissance” atmosphere. The famous balcony was reconstructed using pieces of marble dating back to the thirteenth century and the interiors adorned with frescos and furniture from the period.
According to historical documents, it would appear that two feuding families by the names of Montecchi and Cappelletti did indeed inhabit the town during around that time, fighting over its control, though there is no way to prove that they were indeed the ones who inspired Shakespeare’s romantic heroes.
Whether or not the famous star-crossed lovers did actually live in Verona, the fact remains that the city has been over the course of the years influenced by the story in multiple ways, and that in of itself is a fascinating aspect of its history.