Ever since my high school English classes, I have considered myself a Belle of the Bard (get it? ;D). In spite of its flaws, Romeo & Juliet has remained a favorite, no doubt, thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio! Italy seemed like a fairytale destination and is definitely at the top of my travel list.
Imagine my excitement when, about seven years ago, I came across a gem of a romantic comedy, Letters to Juliet? Amanda Seyfried took me on the Italy journey of my dreams. From Verona to Tuscany, she and Vanessa Redgrave’s characters are on the hunt for true love after Seyfried stumbles across Redgrave’s letter to the one and only, Juliet Capulet! One of the most romantic writers in the English language in one of the most romantic countries in the world?! I know! Let it sink in for a second.
Regrettably, it was only recently that I discovered the inspirational source for the film. A delightful book of the same name that serves as a guide, in a way, for the romantic traveler hoping to discover the Bard’s favored city. People from all over the world have been writing letters to the star-crossed heroine for over a century! The book details the phenomena’s origins and the famous, secretive ,Secretaries of Juliet. The authors also give you a virtual tour of Shakespeare’s Verona, from the houses of Montague and Capulet (with theories of supposed families that inspired the story), to the tomb of Juliet herself.
It is exceptionally researched, wonderfully written and should come with a Wanderlust warning. After reading this, it was all I could do to not book the next flight to Rome. I am definitely using this to help plan my trip! Hopeless Romantics, or just general romantics, go forth, for “Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs” (Act I scene i) and, “You are a lover. Borrow Cupid’s wings and soar with them above a common bound.” (Act I scene iv)
Rating: ***** (5/5 stars)