Unhappy in love: tourists wipe a hole in the chest of the Juliet statue

By Jurassic JennApr 1, 2024 13:21 PMTourism
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Tourists wipe a hole in the chest of the Juliet statue
Tourists wipe a hole in the chest of the Juliet statue. Source: putovanjaiturizam.com

Tourists in the Italian city of Verona have once again wiped a hole in the chest of the statue of William Shakespeare's Juliet. SSPDaily learned more about it.

The Guardian writes about it.

The bronze statue stands under a balcony in a tiny courtyard where, according to legend, Romeo wooed Juliet. Hundreds of travelers come there every day to take a selfie and touch the breast as part of a ritual that is believed to bring good luck in love.  

It is believed that sweat from their hands caused the hole to appear, according to local newspaper L'Arena. This is the second time that a large number of touches have disfigured Juliet. In 2014, the original statue, which had stood in the courtyard for more than 40 years, was replaced with a 15,000 euro copy funded by a Catholic association.

Juliet was at the center of controversy in December after a school principal in Tuscany called the ritual of touching her breasts "sexist."

"The damaged statue needs to be repaired, and there is no doubt about that," journalist Enrico Ferro wrote on the local news site il Mattino di Padova. "However, we must also think about the future. Is it right to continue to allow tourists to touch Juliet's breasts? Or perhaps it would be more appropriate to accept the argument of the school principal who recognized it as sexist?"

Davide Albertini, vice president of the association of entrepreneurs in the area, suggested placing the statue higher. "I would also perhaps put a mailbox under it to keep letters from lovers," he told the newspaper. "Maybe it would be a more romantic ritual."

The courtyard is located next to the Casa di Giulietta, a restored 13th-century building that once belonged to the noble del Cappello family, which locals believe inspired Shakespeare's fictional family of Juliet Capulet in Romeo and Juliet. The balcony was added to the building in the 20th century.

Today, the Casa di Giulietta is a museum with a collection of paintings, Renaissance costumes, and a bed that appeared in Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 film adaptation of Shakespeare's play. But most tourists leave the museum for the statue.

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