Italian Language Blog

Romeo, Romeo, Perché Sei Tu Romeo? Posted by on Apr 7, 2017 in Culture

If Shakespeare rewrote his Romeo and Juliet in 2017 …. (inspired by a visit to La Casa di Giulietta in Verona) ….

She speaks.
O, speak again, bright angel, for thou art
As glorious to this night, being o’er my head,
As is a winged messenger of heaven …

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore moveth thou thy jaw hither and yon?
What eulogy of love wouldst thou speak unto me?

Nay, these are no words of love my lady
Tis but humble chewing gum
that I am by ancient tradition bound
to stick upon this sickly wall

Thou knowest the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
But fortune hast that my cell phone doth illuminate
And thus a selfie soon I shall thee send
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say ‘Ay’,
And I will take thy word. Yet, if thou swear’st,
Thou mayst prove false.
Yet if thou dost it proclaim
on facebook all is true

Lady, by yonder blessed gift shop I vow,
That tips with silver all these tacky locks
a sticking plaster upon these ancient walls
I shall place
my felt tip pen your name shalt intertwine with mine
this slimy chewing gum my soul’s devotion thou shalt prove ……

If love can be blind, so too can the imbecilic ‘tourist’, capable of reducing beauty to garbage. La Casa Di Giulietta in Verona, with its famous balcony, may be of dubious provenance, but it is, nonetheless, a potentially charming and picturesque setting.
Yet human beings are masters of self-deception: viewed through the rose tinted glasses of adolescent love this monument may well charm you. We see, on the whole, what we want to see.
Some of us though, are cursed (or blessed, depending upon how you look at it) with clarity of vision, and find ourselves unable to switch off from the ugly blemishes created by the unthinking masses.

And if you’ve visited La Casa di Giulietta recently you’ll know just what our modern day Shakespeare is talking about!

Large clumps of tourists at such a world famous location are only to be expected. But the funfair like House of Horrors that awaits one is absolutely stupefying. Like some insidious disease in this otherwise largely pristine city, the ugly graffiti oozes its way out of the corridor that runs between the entrance gate and Giulietta’s (would be) charming courtyard. It spreads itself upon the walls to each side of the wrought iron gates which bow beneath the weight of the obligatory lovers locks. But these are no simple padlocks, recycled as symbols of eternal love, for, as you are about to find out, these tacky relics are on sale in the nasty little gift shop, conveniently located right inside the courtyard.

Much like the ghoulish ghosts and skeletons decorating the façade of the House of Horrors, these abominations are merely a precursor of what’s to come.

That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So chewing gum would, were it not chewing gum call’d,
Retain that nauseous quality which it doth owe …

You enter the tunnel, take two paces, and stop in your tracks … the walls are black, your eyes adjust to the lack of light. “What is this blackish stuff?” you ask yourself. You focus: graffiti upon graffiti upon graffiti, sticking plasters, post-it notes, and …. is that really what you think it is? Unfortunately yes … chewing gum … YUK!
At this stage your interest in pursuing the legend of Giulietta begins to wane. But, like a moth to the flame, you stumble forth, mouth agape, into the light … and find yourself amidst a mass of selfie stick wielding zombies.

Bound by fake tradition, tourists cluster around a bronze statue of our heroine and, one by one, mount the plinth for a tasteful photo of themselves squeezing her right breast (for luck!) … then it’s off to ye olde gifte shoppe to buy some overpriced Made in China knick knacks. At this stage you hardly notice the famous balcony, your jaw drops and flaps as your mouth struggles to form words …..”how … why … what the f##k!?!”

So, is this just the opinion of a jaded old socially maladjusted idealist? Perhaps … or perhaps not? Let’s have a look at a few reviews for La Casa di Giulietta left by Italian visitors on

“Non è cambiato nulla. Punteggio 1 su 5Vedo sempre la solita ressa di sporcaccioni desiderosi di graffitare i muri di una casa storica che comunque non è veramente quella di Giulietta.”
“Ci sono delle pareti dove poter scrivere i nomi della coppia ma fa un po’ schifo che ci sono anche gomme da masticare attaccate!”
“Androne d’ingresso tutto graffittato al punto di non leggere nessuna dedica, corte sottostante il famoso balcone disordinatamente affollata, rito della foto con mano sul seno della statua di Giulietta un po’ così.”
“Eccessivamente affollata e caotica, non solo non permette una visita tranquilla, ma è difficoltoso anche avvicinarsi al balcone o all’ingresso vero e proprio della casa. Per me di pessimo gusto che sia permesso di imbrattare le pareti del palazzo con scritte e la presenza degli, ormai onnipresenti, lucchetti, anche se ciò è di “moda”.”
“Sinceramente andare alla casa di Giulietta non merita. Evidenzia solo la degenerazione della società. Una zozzura mostruosa!!!!”
“Non è accettabile che un luogo così magico sia deturpato da scritte dovunque e cicche (residui di gomme americane) che tappezzano muri e alberi! SCONCERTATO. NON SI PUÒ ROVINARE UN LUOGO COSI’ POETICO!”
Still want to visit Juliet’s house? Be sure to take your rose tinted glasses!!!
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  1. Denis Watson:

    Una zozzura mostruosa

    I can’t find a translation for zozzura – che cos’è questa mostruosa?

    • Geoff:

      @Denis Watson Salve Denis, zozzura, also spelt sozzura, is pretty much the same as schifezza or sporcizia. Hence zozzura mostruosa = monstrous filth!

      If there’s anything else I can help you with let me know, va bene?

      Alla prossima, Geoff 🙂

  2. lettura:

    We went there with our teen-age daughters, in about 1994, at the request of out 14 year old who had read the play at school. There were few visitors; the place was clean and charming (if not actually historical). Juliette’s breast was, to my recollection, untouched. As we had the place to ourselves, the little one declaimed some likes of Shakespeare from the balcony. On another visit to Verona about 3 years ago I was horrified by the dirt, the graffiti, the crowds shoving to get a place by the statue for the required selfie. I quickly walked away, hoping I could retain the first memory of the place instead of this one.

    I loved your rewrite of Shakespeare and thank you for putting some humor into what was a distasteful experience!

    • Geoff:

      @lettura Grazie per il tuo gentile commento.

      Sometimes humour is the only way to deal with these depressing experiences.
      Our friend who lives in Verona told us that the bad tourism started about 8 years ago.
      He’s Roman, but moved to Verona for work 16 years ago, fell in love with the place and never left.
      He describes Verona as “una piccola Roma senza il caos.” A pretty good description in my opinion.

      A presto, saluti da Geoff 🙂

  3. Evelyn Ferioli:

    We were there in 1990, and we do not remember the walls and area being covered with graffiti and chewed gum. How sad! Why did the people of Verona let it get so bad?

  4. Jo Sheldon:

    You really have excelled your self this time! I wish the Headmaster of your Grammar School could read this. It would make him eat his words.

  5. Rosalind:

    I am chuckling all over again at Geoff’s magnificent “Shakespeare” prose and also at Jo’s comment

    • Geoff:

      @Rosalind Non so se ti sei resa conto Rosalind, ma Jo è mia mamma!

  6. Rosalind:

    Buonasera Geoff, si, lo sapevo, si capisce da i suoi commenti. Ma penso di essere più vicina a la sua generazione e è per questo che scrivo Jo.
    Da qui a una settimana, di nuovo direzzione Livorno e la Maremma con mio nipote!

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