William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, a tragedy about two young lovers from opposing noble families, the House of Capulet (Juliet’s family) and the house of Montague, of which Romeo was a son. Both houses were sworn enemies of each other, so when Romeo and Juliet fell in love the families were not pleased, and they did everything in their power to stop the romance, and it all ends in tragedy. You can read a synopsis of the story here if you are not familiar with it. The original Romeo and Juliet and their families date back to the 13th century.
Oddly enough, though Shakespeare based the story in Verona, where the two families lived, and also wrote ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ he had never visited Verona. The original story of the star crossed lovers was written by Dante Aligheiri (The Divine Comedy), in the 13th century, this was translated into English from Italian and is said to have given Shakespeare the idea for the play.
We visited Verona recently, and one of the most visited attractions there is Juliet’s Balcony, where, according to Shakespeare, Romeo climbed up to visit her in her room. That may be poetic licence, as our guide told us that balconies didn’t exist at the time that the original star crossed lovers did. However, anything for a good story, and there is now a balcony attached to the old house, and outside the house is a statue of Juliet. Tradition is that if you touch the right arm of Juliet, you will have a long life with success in love, and therefore everyone likes to touch Juliet, either on the arm or other places!