Would you ask for help through a letter to someone who you do not know if that person really existed? Most of us would probably not but in the movie Letters to Juliet, it happened and this letter even made a significant change in the life of a person.
Letters to Juliet is a movie realeased in 2010 and the story starts when Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), a fact checker for The New Yorker, decides to go on an “early honeymoon” to Verona, Italy with her fiancé, Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal), a chef. But the two ended exploring the city separately because Victor found opportunities to learn more about Italian food and wine. So Sophie wandered around the city alone and found an interesting place, the house of Juliet Capulet, and she decides to take the opportunity to write a story about it. As she discovers more things about the place, she found a letter that was written almost 50 years ago. She answered back to Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), the one who wrote the letter. After a few days, Claire went to Verona and together with Sophie and his grandson, Charlie (Chris Egan), they went on an adventure to find her long lost love Lorenzo (Franco Nero).
The city of Verona in Italy, founded for more than 2000 years ago, is known for its beautiful and historical architecture and urban structure. Also, it was known to be the home of the greatest lovers in history: Romeo and Juliet, the main characters of William Shakespeare’s play. It has been a big question if the two really existed but this debate cannot stop the tourists from going to the places where they believe the story has taken place.
One of these places is the Casa di Giulietta, or the House of Juliet. It is located on Via Cappello 23 in Verona, Italy. It was dated back from the 12th century and it was a property of the Dal Cappello family a long time ago. This is evident in the Dal Cappello’s coat-of-arms that can still be seen on the keystone of the inner archway in the courtyard. The people believed that it was the house of Juliet because there was a combination of the Capulet and Dal Cappello. In 1905, the city of Verona purchased the building and from there on, restorations were made in the house. It was only seventy years ago when Antonio Avena, the director of the cities’ museums made the concept of it being Juliet’s house. They added the windows, gothic doorways and the balcony to attract more tourists.
The balcony where they believed Juliet dreamed of Romeo
An excerpt from Romeo and Juliet, a play by William Shakespeare
On the other hand, the interior of the house remained untouched because it gives the feeling of medieval living, which they believed the Capulets have lived. Instead, they have made it in into a small museum filled with genuine antiques from the 16th and 17th century such as paintings, frescoes and ceramics that are related to Shakespeare’s play. Still, these things are not proven to be owned by the Capulets.
Sophie visits the house of Juliet
Tourists rubbing the breast of the statue for good luck
In the movie, when Sophie visited the house of Juliet, she saw a courtyard filled with tourists from all over the world writing letters, some were even crying, and posting it on the stone wall of Capulet’s house. In the courtyard also stands the bronze statue of Juliet made by Nereo Costantini. It was a tradition to rub the right breast of the statue first (for good luck) then leave a note on the stone wall. The love note-tradition started back from 1937 when a letter sent to Juliet was found by her tomb.
Women from different parts of the world writing their heart’s content to Juliet Capulet
The secretaries of Juliet reading the letters
Later on, as Sophie tries to write a letter, she sees a woman collecting all the letters from the stone wall. She followed the woman and found a group of women reading the letters. She also discovered that these women write back and each of them is assigned to a certain kind of problem. This group of women call themselves the “secretaries of Juliet.”
Thousands of notes and letters addressed “Juliet, Verona”
Today, thousands of tourists still visit the house of Juliet and the letters and notes full of amorous words is increasing. Each year, on Valentines’ Day, the best letters are awarded with a prize. Three years ago, they even tried to make use of modern technology by having a phone number and email address, with the text messages displayed on a giant screen inside the house. But it was too unromantic so they just decided to place a large, removable wooden panel to solve the graffiti problem. The government of Verona is working hard to maintain this “place of pilgrimage for lovers” to keep the expression of fantasy and passion of people who visit the place. Others believe that this house has nothing to do with the love story at all but the enjoyment to those who believe in the love of Romeo and Juliet is still worth the visit of the house of Juliet Capulet.
Reynier Loislane Dino
2011 – 35015