For decades, amorous visitors to Verona have pinned up their love letters for posterity outside the house where legend has it Romeo wooed Juliet under her balcony. Now, those tender messages are being dumped in the trash.
Many of the notes are attached with chewing gum, a hazard for the medieval stucco walls. The cleaning operation, which started last month, is due to finish in February.
“We absolutely need to clean it,” said Andrea Spiazzi, a Verona town hall official. “But no worries, there will be plaster boards where lovers can still post their missives.”
Authorities are also considering setting up a giant screen in the house’s courtyard that would allow lovers to post large statements of love by zapping them via cell-phone text message.
Local Shakespeare fan, Giulio Tamassia, founder of the area’s “Juliet Club,” did not welcome the idea of digital love notes.
“Up to now, lovers from all over the world wanted to leave a romantic sign, to express their feelings of love,” he said. “The idea to use text messages is simply the opposite of the atmosphere that should be present in Juliet’s house.”
The 14th-century Casa di Giulietta, or House of Juliet, is one of Verona’s top tourist spots. The building belonged to the Cappello family, traditionally identified with the Capulets, leading to the folklore that Shakespeare’s fictional character may have lived there.