William Shakespeare based or part-based 13 of his plays in Italy. Romeo and Juliet is the most famous of his two plays set in the northern city of Verona.
But where can you find Romeo and Juliet in Verona, Italy?
As a two-time visitor, this is where I can help you. Join me on a literary trail in Shakespeare’s Verona.
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Romeo and Juliet’s Verona: Map and Walking Trail
Hit the ground running with my map showing you the location of the Romeo & Juliet sights in Verona. For an interactive map with walking directions, click here or on the image.
You can use this as a self-guided Shakespeare Verona walking trail if you find that helpful. Simply follow the directions included in the map. Without any deviations, the total distance is just under 2 miles (3 km).
However, if you want to get to know Verona in more depth take a look at these two guided walking tours that include Juliet’s House.
This is for you if you just want a quick and inexpensive guided tour which also includes Romeo’s House.
>>> FIND OUT MORE HERE
This slightly longer but still affordable walking tour is for you if you want something a little more in-depth. Over two hours, a local guide will introduce you to the city’s key sights.
>>> FIND OUT MORE HERE
Juliet’s House in Verona (Casa di Giulietta)
Your first stop in Shakespeare’s Verona is Casa di Giulietta, where Romeo Montague is said to have declared his love to Juliet Capulet.
This 13th Century house belonged to a family called Cappello, which is Italian for hat. If you look above the entrance arch, you’ll spot a small stone carving of a hat.
Cappelletti, meaning “small hats”, is translated as Capulets in English. This association wasn’t lost on a few enterprising locals, who designated it as Juliet’s House.
Admittedly, this was a bit of a stretch, but it draws the crowds, who descend on this attraction in their droves. The amorous graffiti and notes that once papered the walls of its small courtyard are no longer there, but the heart-lock padlocks remain.
Statue of Juliet
Hopeful romantics from across the globe wait in line to grope Juliet’s bronze breast, said to bring good fortune in love.
Juliet’s Balcony was only added in the 1930s and is formed from a 17th Century sarcophagus sawn in half.
But experts agree that the famous balcony scene does not appear in Shakespeare’s tragedy. The bard’s stage directions called for a window scene, not a balcony scene.
Inside Juliet’s House
Juliet’s House has been restored in the style of the dwelling of a rich 14th Century merchant. It is home to a small museum with props and costumes from Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 movie, including a magnificent bed.
I was underwhelmed but stepping inside the house is your only opportunity to recreate the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene.
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Tips for visiting Juliet’s House
Juliet’s House is open from 9 am until 7 pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Check current opening hours here.
Although it’s free to visit the courtyard, you need a ticket to enter Juliet’s House and Balcony. This is included in the Verona City Pass.
This is one of Verona’s most popular attractions and is beloved by tour groups. To beat the worst of the crowds, arrive close to opening time or from 2 pm onwards.
Romeo’s House (Casa di Romeo)
Traditionally held to be the house of Romeo Montague, this 13th Century mansion belonged to the wealthy Nogarola family.
As this is a private residence, you can only view it from the outside. However, you can eat traditional Veronese dishes in the osteria on the ground floor.
Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore
The crypt of the so-called Romeo and Juliet church is the setting for the marriage of the star-crossed lovers.
Dedicated to the patron saint of Verona, this is one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Italy. It has a wonderful rose window by the 13th Century master Brioloto, glorious frescoes and a serene cloister.
Juliet’s Tomb (Tomba di Giulietta)
Tradition holds that the tragic finale of this famous love story took place at San Francesco al Corso. Within a small chamber in this former convent is a marble sarcophagus, claimed to be Juliet’s tomb.
As Juliet committed suicide, she could not be buried within the city walls. In the 13th Century, San Francesco al Corso was the only Franciscan monastery outside Verona.
The supporting evidence for this claim may be flimsy but that hasn’t prevented it from becoming a pilgrimage site. It has attracted the likes of Charles Dickens and Lord Byron.
The Verona Card
If you are visiting the key attractions in Verona, the Verona Card can be an excellent deal. I ordered mine online before I left London, and picked it up at the city’s friendly Tourist Information Office.
It comes in two flavours: 24-hour and 48-hour pass. You get free entrance to all of the city’s major sights, including a skip-the-line ticket for Verona Arena, as well as free public transport.
>>> BUY YOUR VERONA CITY CARD HERE
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Shakespeare in Verona: Other Plays
Romeo and Juliet is not the only Shakespeare play set in Verona.
Two Gentlemen of Verona, written between 1589 and 1593, was also set here. Considered to be his earliest – and weakest – play, the action in this comedy moves between Verona and Milan
Romeo and Juliet in Verona: FAQs
Is Romeo and Juliet a true story?
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is not a true story.
His inspiration for the tragedy had its roots in a passage in Dante’s Divine Comedy that refers to the Montecchi (Monatgues) grieving. In the 16th Century, this was spun into a play by Luigi da Porta, a writer from nearby Vicenza, with the snappy title A Recently Re-Discovered Story of Two Noble Lovers with Their Pitiful Death Occurred at the Time of Bartolomeo Della Scala.
Did Shakespeare ever visit Verona?
There is no evidence to suggest that Shakespeare visited Verona.
Why did Shakespeare set Romeo and Juliet in Verona?
The answer is simple. The bard was faithful to the source material.
Da Porta’s play about two love-struck nobles from warring families was set in 14th Century Verona. Shakespeare stuck to the story and the setting.
Romeo and Juliet in Verona: Final Thoughts
As the setting for Romeo and Juliet, Verona has become a beacon for romantics across the globe. So, does it matter that the star-crossed lovers never existed and the Shakespeare sites in Verona are fictional?
Not really. The popularity of these Romeo and Juliet sights in Verona demonstrates the timeless nature of the play. You can’t help but be swept along by a tide of romantic optimism.
And it helps that Verona is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.