Thursday, 25 June 2015

A balcony by any other name

La balcon de Lords

Fantasy Bob was smugly convinced that he had already seen the most famous balcony in the world. Indeed he had stepped out on it. Not that this was to receive the adulation of his adoring fans thronging the outfield at Lords following his match winning performance, but on a tour of Lords some years ago he did step out on to that famous balcony for a few magic moments and imagine.

So that when on their recent visit to the splendid Italian city of Verona Mrs FB punctured the breakfast silence with the suggestion that they visit the most famous balcony in the world, FB did not understand either how they were to get to St John's Wood far less why Mrs FB had taken such a sudden interest such a visit.

He was soon enlightened as they joined the tourist throng standing in the courtyard admiring La balcone de Julietta - a prime Veronese tourist attraction.

La balcon de Julietta
The house now known as Juliet's house dates from the 13th century and is understood to have been owned by the family dell Capello, which for these purposes, and disregarding for a moment that Romeo and Juliet is a work of fiction, can be regarded as exactly the same as Capulet and so is obviously where all that star crossed stuff happened. Juliet looked for her lover from the balcony, forgetting that the balcony itself by all accounts was added in the 20th century. Also problematic is that Shakespeare's text does not mention a balcony, far less that the love lorn Romeo climbs up to it, but only mentions that Juliet appears at a window - what light through yonder window breaks?

But it all looks just right - like it is in the movies and these days there is no higher test of reality.

FB was intrigued to discover that Juliet receives thousands of letters each year from the love lorn and forsaken asking for her advice on matters of the heart. Many are pinned in the courtyard by visitors. All letters receive a reply from a 'secretary of Julietta'. Presumably they involve advice not to believe old priests who offer bottles of sleeping potion.

As if Julietta was a good guide to the successful long and happy relationship. You might as well ask FB about how to play leg spin bowling.