Looking for Veneto tours that follow the most romantic and poignant story ever told? Imagine a route that traces the tale of Romeo and Juliet but ventures beyond Verona to the province of Vicenza, where two castles stand. It is said that the two lovers once lived here, and today these enchanting, timeless places weave together fantasy and history. Embark on Veneto tours from Verona to Vicenza, specifically to Montecchio Maggiore, and plunge into this enduring tale of love and tragedy.
Veneto Tours from Verona to Vicenza
The tale of Romeo and Juliet has long been associated with the city of Verona. Who hasn’t heard of Juliet’s famous balcony at least once? However, if you seek the origins of the tale, you must venture a little further east, to Montecchio Maggiore.
The love story of Romeo and Juliet is widely known, but few are aware that the legend of the two young lovers from Verona has a strong connection with the castles in the province of Vicenza.
The Castles of Romeo and Juliet in the province of Vicenza are a sight to behold. The Villa Castle and the Bellaguardia Castle stand tall on two opposite hills, proudly gazing at each other from a distance, almost symbolizing the distance between the two lovers and the impossibility of their love. A small valley separates the two heights.
The Villa Castle, also known as Romeo’s Castle, is the first to greet visitors as they ascend the road. Built in the 14th century, it served as the residence of the Scaliger nobility, who ruled the region. On the other hand, Bellaguardia Castle, also known as Juliet’s Castle, occupies the highest part of the hill and boasts a noticeably elongated plan.
The legend of the Medieval Tale adapted by Shakespeare
Legend has it that Luigi da Porto, a 15th-century literate and soldier from Vicenza, found inspiration in these very castles to pen his “Historia novellamente ritrovata”, which would later serve as the basis for William Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Romeo and Juliet.
Da Porto, having observed the castles from his home in Montorso Vicentino, was badly wounded in battle in 1529. While recuperating, he reworked an old medieval novella, Masuccio Salernitano’s tale of Mariotto and Ganozza, the ill-fated lovers. In Da Porto’s version, the young couple were named Romeo and Juliet, with their surnames taken from the toponyms of the region: Montagues and Capulets. Montagues directly refers to the village of Montecchio.
The legend that attributes the two fortresses to the rival families of the Montagues and Capulets, making them the homes of Romeo and Juliet, gained great popularity in the mid-nineteenth century. This occurred during the height of the Romantic era, a period when the allure of medieval ruins was strongly felt, especially when used as a backdrop for evocative and captivating events.
Today, the Castles of Romeo and Juliet in Montecchio Maggiore are a romantic symbol. However, the tale of Luigi da Porto and the history of the Montecchio Superiore castles are just a couple of the reasons why these places continue to captivate visitors. The beauty of the walls, towers, and panoramic terraces offer spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.