Two million tourists arrive in Verona every year, to visit the city eternally linked to Romeo and Juliet’s impossible love. Couples head to Juliet’s House to kiss, take a selfie and write their names, often circled by big hearts, on the walls of the courtyard. Others leave post-it notes and messages, which sometimes stick to the wall with chewing gum and even Band-Aid.
The (questionable) ‘tradition’ of writing couples’ names and love phrases with permanent markers on the walls of the courtyard goes back many years. To the point that there is no more room for new ones, not even after removable plywood panels were installed to protect the façade of the house.
So lovers from around the globe have taken to writing on the walls of the street where the house is located, Via Cappello, near centrally located Piazza delle Erbe.
After Juliet’s House was restored, people were only allowed to write on panels placed by the entrance vault. The panels are replaced twice a year, before Valentine’s Day in February and Juliet’s birthday in September.
But now the walls of Via Cappello have become the target of lovers who scribble there on days when the courtyard is closed or at night, or when they can’t find enough space in the courtyard’s walls. To the dismay of local store owners, who have become fed up with what they consider defacement and have called the Carabinieri police to denounce the situation.
"This road has become a no man's land, total anarchy", David Albertini, owner of Giuliettaverona on Via Cappello 10/b, told La Repubblica newspaper. His shop is located right in front of Juliet's house, so he sees the smeared walls every day. "What infuriates me are the answers people give me when I catch them, marker in hand,” he told La Repubblica. “They think it’s their right to write on the walls of the historic center of Verona. They’ve even started to put love locks on the store’s shutters.”
Carabinieri responded by saying to call them whenever the store owners catch people writing on the walls, but in order to issue a fine they have to catch people while they do it and often, by the time they arrive, the culprits are gone.
The city council is considering charging a fee to enter the courtyard of Juliet’s house as the location is part of the classic itinerary of a Verona visit.