■ 13 March 2009 by James Martin
You all know what lascivious act to commit when you visit Verona, the home to Juliet’s balcony of Romeo and Juliet fame, right?
Maybe a hint is in order: There is a statue of lovely Juliet in Verona. You, the tourist, are obligated to help rub the patina off Juliet’s bronze right breast by gently rubbing it—without making a scene, presumably. You will then have luck in love, or so the magic belief goes. One does not know if this refers to quantity or quality of love, as this seems to be a question that divides the sexes. You rubs yer breast and ya takes yer chances, as the toothless old sailor says.
You used to be able to declare your love by sticking your proclamations up to the ceiling of Juliet’s house with bubble gum, a romantic notion if ever I’ve heard one.
But now they’ve cleaned up the gum, obliterating traditional, sticky love. Why? They want you to get married in Juliet’s house.
You are chomping at the bit at the thought of getting married in a place once oozing with gum and love, aren’t you?
“We’ll be offering tourist packages, the whole shebang, just like Las Vegas does,” (Verona Tourism Councillor Daniele Polato) told local dailies.
“It’s a way of using the city’s artistic heritage to boost tourism”.
First of all, what kind of Italian uses the word “shebang?” If that doesn’t cause your “zucca” to go all whirly, then twirl this juicy tidbit around a bit: Verona wants to become Las Vegas. Imagine: showgirls shake their collective booties at your wedding. The free buffet includes Spam, the sweet, fatty kind. Mmmm.
Face it: people and cities are desperate for cash in these desperate times.
As a public service you’ve come to expect, I must inform you that Juliet’s isn’t the only bronze breast in play here. Not by a long shot. The bronze babe over there on the left is impaled on a rod on the beach near the pier in Forte di Marmi, the Marble Fort city, home to Santa Maria Beach, featuring a top topless scene in Tuscany, or so I’m told.
But I would be remiss if I told you that breast rubbing was all there was in Italy. No sir, bald saints are beautiful and deserve rubbing too. Take the funicular above Rapallo and find the cathedral. Even if it’s closed, you’ll find the object of your rubbing fantasies embedded into the door of Santuario Basilica Nostra Signora di Montallegro.
So there he is below. Shiny. Just the bald one, natch.
Good luck with the whole shebang.
Oh, and if you’re infatuated with the notion of romantic cities, you’ll want to head over to our Romantic Verona video with music that will make you swoon. And perhaps you need a map of Verona to keep you abreast of the latest travel planning information. And Verona climate? You need that, too.
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