I have traveled all over Italy, visiting big cities (Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples) and small towns (Bassano, Padova, Assisi). I've traveled the winding roads along the Amalfi Coast, hiked through the Dolomites, and sailed to Capri. I've watched the sun rising behind a row of cypress trees, heard the rain pattering on ancient cobblestone streets, and marveled at bright red geraniums spilling over flower boxes, balconies, and windows.
But in all the boot that is Italy, my favorite place is Verona.
Verona is where my mother is from. It is the place where I rode with my Zio took on the back of his vespa, where my Nonna took me to my first opera, where I had my First Communion. Verona is where I brought my husband a few years after we were married and, later, our three sons.
And Verona is the perfect city for love; after all, it is the setting of Shakespeare's tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet -- a tale based on the Capulets and the Montagues who were prominent families of Verona.
Today, you can visit Juliet's balcony.
You can also see Juliet's statue,
and for good luck you can even touch Juliet's ...
well, I'll let my zio Luciano demonstrate.
A couple of years ago a very charming movie, Letters to Juliet, was filmed in and around Verona.
In the movie, Sophie is an aspiring writer who meets a group of women known as Juliet's secretaries. These women gather to answer letters sent to Juliet asking for advice on love.
Now, what many may not realize is that Juliet's secretaries actually exist. For more than 70 years, Juliet's "secretaries" (volunteers from Verona) have collected the notes and letters which arrive in the mail by the thousands from all over the world . . . and every single letter containing a return address is answered.
So, if you are seeking advice on all matters concerning amore, write to ...
Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s House)
Via Cappello, 23
And as far as love stories go ... my parents met in Verona. They used to meet right under this clock tower.
And here, the same place 40 years later.
And under the clock tower, in the right hand corner, you will find a plaque containing
Shakespeare's description of Verona in Act III, Scene III of Romeo and Juliet.
"There is no world without Verona walls ..."