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
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
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: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman