Casa di Guilietta - History and Facts | History Hit

Casa di Guilietta

Verona, Italy

Peta Stamper

21 May 2021
Image Credit: CC / Radu Costel

About Casa di Guilietta

Casa di Guilietta – the House of Juliet – is a medieval building in Verona, Italy, that was once home to the Capuleti or Cappelletti family. Combining legend with reality, fans of William Shakespeare’s play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ have identified where the story finds its place in Verona’s history.

Today, tourists crowd the small square beneath Casa di Guilietta’s balcony, eagerly reenacting the famous scene from Shakespeare’s play and seeking romantic inspiration at the imagined home of the tragic heroine.

Casa di Guilietta history

Casa di Guilietta, located near Piazza Erbe which is Verona’s oldest square and dates back to the Roman era, was originally built in the 14th century onto a 13th century tower. During the 14th century, the building was known as the ‘hospitium in Capello’ which in Latin referred to a hospital chapel.

The later Capelletti family, recorded as pharmacists until the late 15th century, took their name from the house which had the sculpted headdress of the Dal Capello coat of arms inscribed into the entrance arch. ‘Cappalletti’ referred to the cavalrymen of the Republic fo Venice, known for these characteristic headdresses. The Dal Cappellos were spice merchants and ancient owners of the building.

In this period, the Montecchi family (on which Romeo’s Montague family are based) were Verona’s most powerful Ghibelline merchant family. As a result, the Montecchi were involved in bloody power struggles to control the city, particularly with the Sambonifacio family. There is no record of any conflict with the Cappelletti.

Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Casa di Guilietta became a cheap hotel, described by Dickens on his visit to Verona. The house then underwent a series of imaginative restorations in the 1930s to give it a Renaissance facade. The balcony was recreated with marble remains from the 14th century that had been stored at Verona’s  Castelvecchio Museum.

Casa di Guilietta today

Today, Casa di Guilietta is one of the city’s major tourist attractions. The passageway to the courtyard was until 2019 covered with graffiti and love-themed notes for Juliet stuck to the walls with chewing gum. However, all the wall coverings were removed and the walls are now whitewashed.

While you can no longer leave a letter to Juliet, fans of Shakespeare can walk through to the courtyard and look up at the reconstructed balcony in front of the patchwork walls testifying to Casa di Guilietta’s long history.

You can also approach the bronze imagined sculpture of Juliet in the courtyard, touching her left breast in the hope of finding true love. For 6€ visitors can go inside the house displaying period clothing and features of the 14th century interior.

Getting to Casa di Guilietta

Entering from the Via Cappello, Casa di Guilietta is only a few minutes walk from Verona’s ancient Piazza Delle Erbe. For those using public transport around bustling Verona, buses 70, 96 and 97 stop along Piazza Francesco Viviani, just around the corner from Casa di Guilietta.