The Real Life Letters to Juliet in Verona

Travel Edits | The Real Life Letters to Juliet in Verona

It’s February and love is in the air, especially in fair Verona, where we lay our scene. Love notes and colourful padlocks are multiplying in the famous courtyard beneath Juliet’s balcony, as visitors scrawl poetic declarations and impassioned pleas on bricks and stone.

Travel Edits | The Real Life Letters to Juliet in Verona

Hopeless romantics leave notes to Juliet at her house in Verona

Travel Edits | The Real Life Letters to Juliet in Verona

Padlocks symbolising everlasting love beneath Juliet’s Balcony

As most people know, William Shakespeare immortalised the city of Verona in his tragedy Romeo and Juliet. However a certain Amanda Seyfried/Vanessa Redgrave movie has played a huge role in encouraging the recent explosion of Verona PDAs.

 

Look beyond the scraps of paper, pink bubblegum and graffiti-plastered walls of Juliet’s house and you’ll find a sincere and beautiful tradition known as the Club di Giulietta (Juliet Club).

Here a team of volunteers called “Juliet secretaries” carefully sift through hundreds of heartfelt letters on a daily basis.

One such letter was sent to Verona by Irish photography student, Jessica Lynch last July. Cork-based Jessica wasn’t looking for a solution or an agony aunt, the gifted writer simply wanted to share the story of her one true love with the Juliet Club. She also mentioned how she would like to visit Verona some day to photograph the city.

Travel Edits | The Real Life Letters to Juliet in Verona

Jessica O’ Connell-Lynch: pic by Naomi Smith

To her surprise, not only did she receive a reply with lovely encouraging words, but Jessica also discovered that the Juliet Club was awarding her a prize for writing one of the most beautiful letters of 2012.

Speaking to Travel Edits this week, she said she had no idea that there was a competition when she wrote the letter, but simply felt inspired to put pen to paper after reading about the Club di Giulietta.

Travel Edits | The Real Life Letters to Juliet in Verona

Official poster for the Juliet Club’s ‘Most Beautiful Letter’ Ceremony

Jessica will now travel to Verona for a special prize giving ceremony on February 16th. She will join two other winners from Italy and Japan at Juliet’s House where there will be a reading of the letters. Each of the girls will also receive a statue of Juliet.

The Letters to Juliet Tradition

Travel Edits | The Real Life Letters to Juliet in Verona

10,000 letters arrive in Verona every year

Love notes were being sent to Juliet’s House long before Amanda Seyfried set foot in Verona. The first letters began to arrive in 1937 when volunteer “Juliet Secretaries” started collecting correspondence that had been left on Juliet’s tomb- a nearby tourist attraction constructed to commemorate the ill-fated heroine from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Over the years, this tradition grew and grew until a Juliet Club was formally set up. According to the club, around 10,000 letters arrive on their doorstep every year. The team of volunteers do their best to provide a personal reply to every letter.

How to Become a Juliet Secretary

Anyone can volunteer to become a Juliet secretary. Giovanna Tamassia, one of the Juliet secretaries says “the club receives many requests from people from all over the world who want to come to Verona, even if only for a short period, to help answer the letters. They are all welcome of course, as we always need help! The Juliet Club is an open group of people.”

The Verona in Love Festival

Another spin-off from Romeo and Juliet is the “Verona in Love” festival which takes place each February during the week of Valentine’s Day. The festival has the slogan, “If you love someone, bring them to Verona.” A number of special events are scheduled during the week, including tours of Juliet’s house and special cinema screenings.

Even if you don’t make it to Verona this February, it’s a city worth visiting at any time of the year – a very underrated destination with stunning architecture, culture and shopping. More to follow….

17 Comments

  1. 9th February 2013 / 1:18 pm

    That movie took me to Verona, a place that I simply adored!! I didn’t know that the Juliet Club actually existed. Lovely!

    • 10th February 2013 / 8:11 am

      Me too Ana – plus, itwas a bonus to find the rest of the city to be so beautiful too

  2. 9th February 2013 / 7:20 pm

    I had no idea there was a Juliet Club! I always loved the idea of people writing these letters. And, a love festival! I need to go!

    • 10th February 2013 / 8:12 am

      Highly recommended Erin!

  3. 9th February 2013 / 10:34 pm

    I just saw that movie on tv the other day.. would love to write my own letter and drop it off in Verona personally one day. So romantic!

    • 10th February 2013 / 10:06 am

      A great excuse to visit!

  4. 10th February 2013 / 12:05 am

    This is amazing. I would love to become a Juliet secretary. I love the competition as well. It’s’ so sweet that Jessica won and didn’t even know she was competing for something.

    • 10th February 2013 / 10:10 am

      Isn’t it?! That’s my favourite part of the story – and what a great experience it would be to become one of the secretaries…

  5. 10th February 2013 / 8:13 am

    It’s a great city and a great prize Raul so definitely worth a try 🙂

  6. 11th February 2013 / 11:54 pm

    true story: i watched this movie on the flight home from italy and was SOO upset that we didn’t go to verona. i guess it’s always good to have a few excuses to go back to italy, though 🙂

  7. 12th February 2013 / 2:54 am

    As a HUGE Shakespeare fan, I really want to visit Verona. I taught and read Romeo and Juliet more times than I can remember. Thanks for sharing this. So interesting.

  8. 12th February 2013 / 4:34 pm

    How interesting! I had no idea about the Juliet Club. Maybe I should see that movie too…

  9. 12th February 2013 / 8:14 pm

    oooooh romance. i have never been to Verona. i wonder if i’d be charmed by it too?!

  10. 13th February 2013 / 4:53 am

    Verona looks like a great Valentine’s destination.

  11. Kathy
    3rd April 2017 / 5:27 pm

    I have a copy cd of letters to Juliet it is by far the best movie I adore it. I’m in love with the story of the older women searching for her lost love. The wall of letters left, the search , the beautiful country side , the wineries. I just pray my years don’t run out on me before I am able to one day see this place for myself. Meanwhile I am content to watch my cd over and over when I want a really good movie to totally enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *