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Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, is hoping to cash in on the enduring appeal of Shakespeare’s “star-cross’d lovers”, by charging two euros (£1.68) per head to see the famous balcony.
Tourists who want to enter the courtyard to see the balcony from where Juliet was supposedly wooed by Romeo could soon have to pay a fee, under plans being discussed by Verona city council.
The balcony protrudes from “Juliet’s House”, a 14th century building which was once the home of the Cappello family – who were possibly the model for the Capulets of Shakespeare’s play.
The council is also mulling the idea of creating a luxury suite on the top floor of Juliet’s House where couples could spend the first night of their honeymoon – for up to 5,000 euros, according to reports.
“We are hoping to hold talks with the owners of buildings that overlook the courtyard so that we can find a suitable solution for everybody,” Enrico Corsi, councillor in charge of tourism, told Italy’s Ansa news agency. “It needs to be in the interests of the whole city, which is known throughout the world for the legend of Juliet.”
The city is pushing hard to establish itself as a romantic venue and already has a scheme called ‘Sposami a Verona‘, or Marry Me in Verona, promoted as “a once in a lifetime experience, following in the footsteps of Romeo and Juliet.” It enables Italians and foreigners to hold their weddings in various picturesque locations, including Juliet’s House.
The balcony is a big tourist draw for Verona but historians say there is little evidence linking it to Shakespeare’s tragic love story.
Although the Capulet and the Montague families did exist, there is no record of them engaging in a feud, and Romeo and Juliet are entirely fictional characters.