The Juliet Club in Verona
I had the pleasure of visiting The Juliet Club (Club di Giulietta) when I was in Verona, Italy this past summer, and when I say pleasure I mean it in every sense of the word.
As we travelled from Pisa to Venice, we made a stop for most of the day in Verona. I was incredibly excited to explore Verona, as I knew that’s where Juliet’s balcony was located. This was something I’ve always wanted to see. However, I had no idea what was really in store for me in that tiny but beautiful city.
I knew of The Juliet Club for the most obvious reason, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but also from the famous movie “Letters to Juliet.” I just wasn’t aware of how real the concept of that movie really was. Some of my girlfriends and I wandered around the city until we got to Juliet’s balcony. Right under the balcony is Juliet’s courtyard where there lays a majestic statue of Juliet herself. People from all over the globe come to this statue and grab her breast in hopes it will bring them some luck in love. To be very honest, it was hilarious watching the multitude of people, from elderly ladies, to middle age men grabbing the breast of this statue with such a look of content of their faces. A few footsteps away lays The Juliet Club (Club di Giulietta).
Here, a team of real life Juliet’s (Juliet’s secretaries, as they call them) very carefully look through hundreds of heartfelt letters on a daily basis. The tradition of sending letters to Juliet goes way back (centuries, I believe). It started with people leaving notes and letters here, as it was said to be Juliet’s tomb. Then that snowballed with people just sending mail directly to the city of Verona. The mail to Juliet became so much that the city had to create an office to deal with all of it. Now that office is known as The Juliet Club (Club di Giulietta). The office is said to receive more than 7,000 letters per year, and each one is personally answered by hand. People write to Juliet for encouragement, to ask for advice or opinions, to ask about love, etc.
The office is staffed with an army of angels if you ask me; however they are local volunteers. These volunteers are able to read/respond in many different languages. If you are a tourist visiting the city and you wish to visit the office, you are also able to be a volunteer for however long you want, and read/respond to some letters to Juliet.
The Juliet Club is located in a small building on the outskirts of the city of Verona. My friends and I took it upon ourselves to wander in, where we found a table with huge boxes of letters in them, benches around it, and a lovely mother sitting there with her 9 year old daughter answering letters. I think this is when it began to sink in for me, that this wasn’t just a made up place, but a very real place with a beautiful mission.
We all sat down along with the mother and daughter and began to sift through some letters. I am going to be honest with you. My attitude towards replying to people’s letters wasn’t great when we first sat down. I was so insanely excited to be there and see how it all worked, but I in no way felt worthy enough to answer people’s relationship questions or give life advice to strangers, as I myself can’t even quite wrap my head around my own circumstances.
Despite these thoughts, I picked a letter from the pile and began reading. The first letter I picked up was from a girl in Texas who was going through a lot in life. She shared horrifying stories about her parent’s being terminally ill, her ex boyfriend physically abusing her, her emotional and mental suffering currently, and her boy situation now. I was moved to tears so I picked up a pen and a piece of paper and I moved to another table on the other side of the office where I began my reply. I still don’t know to this day if my reply did that girl any justice, but I tried my hardest. Then I picked up another letter from a girl from Western Australia. This girl was writing to Juliet to ask about how she should approach a certain situation with a boy. This one was much easier to answer. None the less, I tried my best. I continued on and answered about 4 letters as Juliet, and then proceeded to write my own letter to Juliet.
By the time I got around to writing my own letter to Juliet, I was very emotional and my feelings and thoughts were just absolutely pouring onto that piece of paper. After reading all of these letters from beautiful souls from all over the world, I felt a sense of connection. We are all women, all human, all going through life, experiencing similar things. Some harder than others, but still, similar. This gave me such a sense of comfort, so I let my emotions flow into that letter. I left it there on the desk in the office of The Juliet Club, not really thinking about if I would get a response or not.
However, this past week, I received a letter from Verona. I opened it that evening when I got home from work and was astounded (yes, I cried again). English was definitely not the first language of the absolute angel who answered my Letter to Juliet, but that did not stop her from rocking my world. Her precious response was so encouraging and beautiful to my circumstances and feelings, and it just so happened to arrive at the perfect time, just when I needed it.
Thank you to my Juliet.
If you ever find yourself in Italy, make a stop in Verona. Wander into The Juliet Club just like my friends and I did. It is such a beautiful and deeply emotional experience, you won’t ever forget…. I know I won’t.
If you wish to write your own letter to Juliet, the mailing address is as follows…
Club di Giulietta
Corso Santa Anastasia 29,