Remember the Hollywood movie Letters to Juliet, starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave? Well, it’s true. Letters continue to pour in for the heroine of Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet in Verona, Italy. And, just like in the movie, they are answered by “Juliet’s secretaries”, who award the best every Valentine’s Day. Here, we present the top three letters.
(Scroll down for the letters) It’s all fiction, of course, but Casa di Giulietta, or Juliet’s house in Verona, Italy is where the Capuleti family from the famous Shakespearean tragedy is said to have lived. The restoration of the house dates back to 1937-1940. Juliet’s grave was a famous tourist attraction, starting from the 18th century and visited by writers such as Charles Dickens, George Byron, besides Maria Luisa d’Austria (Napoleon’s wife), who took pieces of the marble stone to make jewels! The Juliet Club, formed 40 years ago is an independent association of volunteers, in charge of replying to the letters. The club gets thousands of letters, including emails, besides little messages without addresses. Recalls Giovanna Tamassia, who became a volunteer at Juliet’s Club about 17 years ago, “After University, I began to do some translations at Juliet’s Club and discovered that I liked it. We are not paid to do it! We try to give the best advice. We all want someone to trust and who takes care of us, to have a family and good friends…someone to love is important. These letters are really an invaluable treasure of humanity and feelings from all over the world.” Juliet, she believes, “can listen and understand; it is amazing to see how she is trusted, sometimes as if she was the only one to confide in about even the most personal problems.” Enter the city of Verona and follow the directions to reach the gate, where you’re likely to find a crowd having collected any time of the day. Enter the passage, where the wall is covered in graffiti, with couples posing for a picture. The courtyard is festive with people of all ages vying to get close to Juliet’s bronze statue and a look at the balcony. For a small fee, you can also enter the house and get a look at Juliet’s bedroom. And, of course, share in an iconic photo opportunity to get yourself clicked standing in Juliet’s balcony!
Dear Juliet Capulet,
In my own humble admiration of your story, I find myself seeking advice from you, oh Juliet, the keeper of the greatest love story I’ve ever known. Six years and 20 days ago, a girl celebrated my birthday with me. She ordered me a cake with a sparkling candle. We walked through a park at night, and then made love over and over. Less than a year later I would be without her, and I haven’t known what it was to be loved, to be in love, since then, since her. On occasion, I dream about her, dream that we are together and happy. So strange, it’s like my brain is somehow trying to compensate for the loss. We took some time apart at first, and when I asked her to come back to me she said no. When at first she said no, I didn’t quite feel it. Like a gunshot that went straight through me that felt like nothing before the pain began. In six years, I’ve failed over and over in my flailing attempts at finding a glimpse of the love I felt when I was with her. It was two years ago that I sent her a letter.
Funny, that when I say “her” and you know who I mean, I already feel connected to you.
Her, to that elusive “her”, I sent a letter confessing that my love remained. I was turned down, and she was with someone else. I once heard that it takes one-third of the time the relationship lasted to get over said relationship. After eight times the time I was with… her… my beloved, I only find I still wish I felt her breath on me when I curl up to sleep alone. After six years, I can still hear what her moan was like in my head. After six years, I can still remember the feeling I felt when I made her laugh, or smile, or sigh. I’m afraid the tragic love of my life has ended without poison or sword, but with unanswered text messages, awkward emails and a “de-friending” on Facebook. I can only tell you Juliet, oh you wonderful lover of Romeo, that the time I’ve had to be in a lost love has only given me more time to cry. And though I may never plunge a dagger into my breast… I can understand why you have. And though there may never have been or will be another story of more woe than of you Juliet, and your Romeo, perhaps your wisdom in years past can lend me a glimmer of hope at long last.
Nathan Emery Harrison, USA
My dearest Juliet,
Oh my secret Juliet, what on amazing story you are part of. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be writing to you. But now that I am, I feel honored. And a little scared. I am from Norway, far away from the historic streets of Verona, but yet close enough to feel the burning love from the tale of Romeo and Juliet. In today’s day and age, a love story like yours is hard to come by. The ability to feel so strongly about another person that you would do anything for that someone is as graceful and fearless as I believe it can get. But then again, what do I know? My 21 years of age is not something to brag about, nor is my encounters with love. I watch my friends fall in and out love, and lend a shoulder to cry on. But I do draw from them, and from everyone else I meet or see that have found their soul mate. They all look so happy, so tranquil with their surroundings. I wonder what that’s like, to look into someone’s eyes and feel like everything will be alright, even when it’s not. Because that person is so great, so kind and so amazing that all your worries simply blow away like a summer breeze. I want that. I want that someone to fall asleep next to. Someone who puts up with me and all my day-dreaming. The gentleman and the rebel. The adventurous and nostalgic.
I want to miss someone. It must be one of the biggest privileges in this life to get to miss someone you know misses you just as much. Two people thinking about each other at the same time… is that crazy to wish for?
Am I being ridiculous for wanting someone to miss? Is that selfish? I don’t want an easy ride, I want to fight for someone, to make it work even when everyone says it won’t. And I want someone to fight for me. I just hope that when an opportunity like that comes, I will be brave enough to take it, to seize it. But until then, I find a comfort in all of those who has found that someone that they get to miss. They are all the reason as to why I still believe in love, and why I never get tired of travelling around. They are all living love stories, and that I find to be quite beautiful. Thank you for listening to me.
All my love,
(Translated from Italian)
The girl who writes to you now is different from the one four years ago, who you asked to find out what it meant to love, from the confused teenager who felt locked in a prison separated from reality. That girl is now only a trace of my new being and it’s for that reason that I am writing to thank you for having kept alive in me the light that makes it possible to be here today, full of hopes, plans, dreams that seem to be increasingly achievable. I’d be lying if I said I have completely healed from my past, from my problems and my insecurities, but now every obstacle appears surmountable. The person who writes to you is no longer hostage to a mind obsessed by the nightmare of eating disorders, but someone who did not give up in the face of adversity that life subjects one to. Help me not to give up my insecurities, sustain me when I think of not succeeding and, above all, give me the courage to live fully my first love story that seems so powerful that I remember every day why it is worth suffering to get what you want. Thanks Juliet, because the answer to my previous letter helped me more than you can imagine and especially because your wonderful story reminds me that true love is always sought after and nothing is more valuable than an embrace of the beloved. Trusting in your help again with a heart full of hope for the future, I renew the call to help me keep this incredible dream of love.
(If you want to send a letter to Juliet, address it to Club di Giulietta, Via Galilei 3, 37133 Verona, Italy or email at firstname.lastname@example.org)