Thursday, May 11, 2017

VERONA 2017: Piazza Erbe and the House of Juliet

Let's mix things up a bit and go back to Verona!  Specifically, let's go to the center of Verona's commercial and administrative life:  the Piazza Erbe.

I love this map because it shows the most important landmarks of the city, all of which we saw.
But today's post is centered on the red numbers 2-5.

We'll start with the Piazza Erbe (#5), which was the town's forum during the Roman Empire.
Today it is a bustling market square with hawkers selling their wares.

It has 4 major landmarks:
Colonna di San Marco (1528) topped by St. Mark's Lion, symbol of Venetian rule (bottom-left).
The Fountain (1368) topped by the Madonna of Verona, symbolizing Commerce (bottom-right).
The Capitello (13th century) for ceremonies, called Tribune (top-right).
The ornate carved Aedicula (shrine) from 1410 (bottom-center).

Of the 4 landmarks, the fountain is the center-point of attraction.
The Madonna statue on top is a Roman sculpture dating to 390 AD.
We actually sat at the nearby Capitello to take it all in.

Just a wee walk away from the last column, the Aedicula shrine, we found Juliet's House (#2).
In Italian, it's the Casa di Giulietta, connected to Shakespeare's tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.

Upon passing through the gateway/entrance, you enter the courtyard.
And yes, that's the balcony of legend and fantasy...where you can even get married!
And no, we didn't even try to make it through the crowd to go up.

The real darling of the courtyard was Juliet herself.
Older men and women, all the way down to young boys and girls, wanted to touch her.
No one seemed at all embarrassed to have their turn, a good-luck ritual for the unmarried.

Did you notice the gum door behind Juliet?  Even the tree was gummed!
And, of course, there were enough love padlocks to sink the entire place.
How can you not have intrigue for such a place of Love and Tragedy!

From Juliet's House we walked back to the Palazzo della Ragione (#4), the Palace of Reason.
The medieval palace features an elegant Renaissance staircase, 
leading from the exterior courtyard to the magistrates' offices above.
The Lamberti tower attached to the palace, begun in 1172, is 275 ft. tall (top-center).  
The clock was added in 1779. and for €1 were could take the lift to the top.

How fun to zoom in on all the Piazza Erbe landmarks from above...

to say nothing for all the other landmarks we had already seen or would see later
(covering all the blue and red numbers in the map above).

You know how I always say we learn much about a people/culture from their cemeteries.
I often think the same about their rooftops!

Outside the Palace of Reason we spotted the Dante statue from 1865 (bottom-right). 
He was the medieval poet who was a guest of the Scaliger family during his exile from Florence.

Speaking of cemeteries and the Scaliger family, and last but not least...
we stood in awe of the Scaliger Tombs from the 14th century, high and lifted up.
They're a group of 5 Gothic tombs celebrating said Scaliger family.

This didn't end our day but it does end this post.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Tomorrow Astrid and I fly to Cornwall, England, for 6 days of mini-vacation with friends.
You know what that means...a gazillion more images to wade through.  HA!
The things I have to put up with!


  1. Such beautiful ornamentation in those old cities. No wonder the people spend so much time in the streets.

  2. Verona is such a wonderful place. I never knew that there would be such a circus around 'the balcony'... it was fun to see however a little too many people to my liking...
    We saw some wonderful things and I love how you put all the impressions in the collages. The view from the tower was wonderful. A great memory to keep IHVJ.

    1. Who knew there could be so much tourist attention to this legendary spot! It was a fun surprise, even if we didn't totally enter into the "rituals" of the place. A great memory, indeed!

  3. Beautiful and interesting series Ginnie. I love Juliet's balcony that I visited in 1976... I hope you meet Juliet and Romeo???

    1. It surprised us to find this place, Marie, not knowing Verona held this legendary treasure. We loved the statue of Juliet but Romeo was nowhere to be found, I'm afraid. :)

  4. wow at all the ornate architecture! it made me wonder if the people were better or worse for all the old buildings, that no doubt carry the spirits of the Roman Empire to this day... sometimes i'm glad i live in a young country!

    i must say that the thing that strummed my heart strings the most was Juliette's balcony!! it shocked me and made me wonder suddenly if Shakespeare wrote non-fiction haha

    have fun on your trip, it took me three blog posts to figure out how long you would be gone fore lol

    1. Architecture is what Europe is all about for me, Elaine, also coming from a young country. It still blows my mind. I don't think I could ever take it for granted!

      Astrid and I were both totally surprised to find this legendary place in Verona. Who knows how much is based on reality (when you Google it, you hear about a similar story to Shakespeare's). It's fun, isn't it!

      And now you know that we are back from our Cornwall trip!!!

  5. Your post just reminded me how much I loved the rooftops of Venice! Enjoy your "mini" trip!

    1. Cemeteries and rooftops. We're on the same page, Robin. :)

  6. Just so beautiful. Even if I wasn't the Romeo and Juliet type I'd really want to see that too.

  7. First off, I have to ask if there is any historic connection between the Juliet House and the Montagues or Capulets or whichever Juliet was. What an admission for an English teacher, but i only taught R&J once.

    Your tour through Italy makes me think that you will be seeking to explore every New England hamlet in our region, and there are many that still feel to varying degrees like 19th century New England. The great problem is in getting into houses of worship. Except on Sunday it can be hard to find people in these tiny places. The most remote in our immediate area is Winchester. It feels to me like Brigadoon, but most times when I go through it feels locked up tight, everyone behind their curtains or out on errands. I’ll have to see if our local book store has a guide that will offer more than the standard CT historical marker. Those are pretty good, but offer no more than the basic facts.

    Places like Litchfield are much easier.

    1. My understanding, Ted, is that there were two warring families in the Verona area, similar to the ones in R&J, and therefore the perfect place for this Shakespeare play to find its legendary roots. It's fun to imagine how this came to be...similar to the King Arthur birthplace in Tintagel, Cornwall!

      Sometimes the best places to see are those in our own backyard, so please know that Astrid and I will NOT need to travel far to find great interest in your neck of the woods. We can hardly wait.