My other two flight attendant crew members and I had a long day ahead of us, spending the day in the Renaissance city of Verona. We knew large cappuccino’s were the order top of the morning to jumpstart us in the right direction. Fortunately, there is a café right across the street from our layover hotel. My visual of a large Italian cappuccino definitely did not include an American sized Hummer in a cup, which was actually dwarfed by the sugar bowl.
We ponied up the 40€ for roundtrip train tickets leaving Milan’s Centrale station (glorious artwork in itself) for the roughly 90 minute train ride to Verona’s Porta Nuova station. We knew we would see the highlights: the Duomo, the Roman arena, the market in the town’s square, Juliet’s - of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet - famed balcony. With all the tourists and young lovers, who either swoon and pine at the feet of Juliet’s balcony, professing undying love, or have their picture taken in the tiny courtyard below rubbing the right breast of Juliet’s bronzed statue for good luck, it seemed we were going to be the odd ones out being a trio of married co-workers, on the fringe of being tourists. Nonetheless, how could we bypass visiting Verona’s cultural Renaissance icon? A young girl named Juliet, in love with her Romeo in 1303, when life and love were very different.
If we didn’t know the address, we would have likely missed the entrance to the Juliet sanctum. Upon entering the small tunnel, it was obvious this was a place visited by dedicated fans the world over as every name imaginable was colorfully written on the tunnel walls, one on top of another. But one stood out among the crowd; I just had to have my picture taken with Guiseppe’s and Irina’s heart! Turns out, that was a hit maker as after the three of us finished having fun taking pictures with their big, white heart, there was a line forming, fingers pointing with cameras in hand, tourists ready to be part of Guiseppe’s and Irina’s love story.
Looking up at the balcony, there was an Asian student who was relishing his 15 minutes of fame as he preened and turned, glancing down at everyone in the tiny courtyard, everyone looking back at him, wondering when he would move it along. These tourists wanted pictures of Juliet’s balcony - and they were going to wait him out. While all the posturing was going on, we perused the store in the courtyard that sold the padlocks lovers buy to write their names on, and lock onto the gate that rests along the back courtyard wall. Locked in love for eternity - isn’t young love great?