On a recent holiday to Lake Garda in northern Italy, I visited the beautiful city of Verona and in particular one of it’s historical attractions – the former inn known as Casa di Giulietta, most commonly known as Juliet’s house.
Of course, there is a tradition for visitors to declare true love by attaching tokens of their affection to the surrounding walls of the ancient building. These take the form of many diverse objects including colour matching padlocks, love letter notes, and most strangely, used chewing gum.
Unsurprisingly, Verona City Council have taken a dim view of this vandalism and banned anyone from leaving their contemporary romantic message at the attraction, unless it’s on one of their removable panels. Anyone not doing this will receive a hefty fine, although judging by the amount of people milling throughout the narrow courtyard it would incredibly difficult to police.
While for many people this has made the building become an eyesore, I find the tokens or ‘graffiti’ quite fascinating. Unlike the random spray-painted scrawls we find on street furniture and subways, there’s something almost quite artistic and raw about the way the walls have been decorated.
Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe I’m just in the minority, in which case the council have the unenviable task of cleaning up this extraordinary love scene. Wherefore art thou Romeo?