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This weekend, Italian winery Gerardo Cesari, Verona, will host an event to celebrate the birthday of Giulietta Capuleti – the heroine from the world’s most famous romantic tragedy, known best in the English-speaking world as Shakespeare’s Juliet Capulet.
Juliet Capulet, as she appeared in the play by the Bard, first appeared as Giulietta Capuleti in Luigi Da Porto’s novel Historia novellamente ritrovata di due nobili amanti (The Newly Found Story of Two Noble Lovers). That novel, too, was likely inspired by an earlier story called Mariotto e Ganozza by Masuccio Salernitano.
In fair Verona, where the story of the two star-crossed lovers is set, local wine experts Cesari and volunteer association Juliet’s Club are among those celebrating the iconic character’s birthday. Signori Square and Mercato Vecchio Square in Cavaion Veronese will host Juliet’s Drop from 10.30am to 4.30pm on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 September, while regional wines such as Amarone and Lugana flow, and passionate love letters addressed to Juliet are read aloud. These letters have been hand selected by Juliet’s Club, an association of volunteers housed in Gerardo Cesari which replies to thousands of love letters addressed to Shakespeare’s tragic heroine from all over the world.
The letters read over the weekend include the words of Amber (Australia), whose meditations on betrayal and the rediscovery of hope will whet the palate for Lugana Cento Filari; the words of Beth (South Africa), punctuated by notes of delicious Ripasso Bosan; and the words of Tracey (USA), a celebration of the eternal strength of love, accompanied by the taste of Amarone Bosan.
Expert Giuseppe Franco Viviani identified Juliet’s birthday as the beginning of September 1284, according to evidence from the priginal 15th-century novel by Luigi Da Porto. By using astronomic and archive calculations, and working back from the book’s assertion that Juliet would have reached 18 years old in the day of Saint Eufemia, Giuseppe Franco Viviani discovered Juliet’s date of birth.