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Couple weds on Juliet's balcony

June 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Looking for the ultimate romantic wedding? Couples can now tie the knot at the home of Juliet -- Shakespeare's Juliet -- in fair Verona.Of course, Juliet and her Romeo were fictional characters. However, local legend has it that they were modeled on actual people. Specifically, Juliet's family, the Capulets, is said to be based on the Cappellos, a family of Veronese nobility that owned the building where Shakespeare's famous balcony scene is set. It was from that balcony that Juliet declared eternal love for Romeo, and in a move to attract tourists, the city has launched a promotional campaign encouraging people to exchange their vows at the site.

"Getting married in one of the most romantic places in the world in the name of eternal love, that is an important thing for everybody," said Verona's mayor Flavio Tosi. "It is something unforgettable both for us and for all those that are sending requests to get married here, from Japan, from the United States, and elsewhere."

Luca Ceccarelli and Nirene Laforti were the first couple to wed at Juliet's home.

"We fell in love with this town and we fell in love with this little courtyard and so we said to ourselves, 'Why not?'" explained Laforti.

Fans of Shakespeare might point out that things did not exactly end well for Romeo and Juliet. And while city leaders are downplaying the gloomy ending to the story and focusing instead on the spirit of romance, they are offering weddings at the site of Juliet's tomb.

The Romeo and Juliet weddings do not come cheaply. Typically, a civil wedding license in Italy costs about $64. The special Verona licenses cost upwards of $1,000.

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