What light through yonder window breaks? I can't tell, it's posted over

The city of Verona has a fabulous Roman arena, a Romanesque cathedral and the rather recently fabricated house of an imaginary romantic heroine. No prizes for guessing which is the biggest tourist draw.

But now the city is faced with a delicate problem. Hundreds of tourists, domestic and foreign, pour every day through the Casa di Giulietta, "Juliet's House", at number 27 Via Capello. They come to gaze on the legendary balcony where Juliet may have sighed and Romeo clambered (had either of them existed), to admire the bronze statue of the unlucky lady and to place a hand on its left breast, to give themselves better fortune than hers.

But most of all they come, couples from all over the world, to think happy thoughts about the condition of being in love. And, these days at least, they write their fond thoughts on little yellow sticky slips and attach them to the exterior walls of the house, wherever they can find a space, with chewing gum.

The walls are now plastered with the things, there is barely an inch of free space, and they reach such a height - practically to the balcony - that the lovers must be bringing their own ladders. And the city government has had enough. These walls are medieval, they point out. They won't take much more of this chewing gum. The little slips, adorned with hearts and X loves Y messages, must go. "The damage is evident and intolerable," says Francesca Tamellini, the city's tourism councillor, "we must do something". The stuck-up messages are to be banned. Instead, lovers visiting the house will be invited to send their ardent emotions in the form of SMS messages (phone number yet to be published) which will be displayed on a giant video screen to be set up inside the house, as well as on a special website.

It might work - though citizens of Verona point out that earlier attempts at shutting down the problem survived only a matter of weeks before the little yellow things started creeping back. The "technologically correct" solution (as Corriere della Sera newspaper terms it) is open to criticism on two counts. For one thing the messages will enjoy only a brief life, being rapidly killed off by incoming new ones. For another, the semiology is all wrong. Given the number of Japanese tourists piling through Casa Giulietta, it's no surprise to learn Verona's lovenote fad - dating back only 18 months - has a Japanese provenance.

Visit a Shinto shrine in Japan and you see thousands of prayers written on slips of white paper, folded and tied to the branches of trees. They are intended to stop people carving their thoughts on the sacred walls.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales & Marketing Assistant

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This UK based B2C and B2B multi...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Executive - Opportunities Across The UK

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing, UK based I...

Recruitment Genius: Events Consultant

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen for an ex...

Recruitment Genius: Injection Moulding Supervisor

£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Busy moulding company requires ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003