3. Juliet’s House

“Come and behold Montecchi and Cappelletti / Monaldi and Fillippeschi, careless man / those sad already, and these doubt-depressed”. In this Purgatory tercet (canto VI, lines 106-108), Dante invites Emperor Albert I of Germany to come and see the discouraging situation that was afflicting Italy, and as an example he uses Verona, bloodstained by the eternal struggle between the Montagues and their opponents. In front of the entrance of Juliet’s house, the dream ends, Dante’s enlightened vision blurs. It is as if it is still possible to hear the screams of those Verona citizens who, from the top of this tower, fought against their fellow citizens in 1200, before the Scaligers and especially Alberto Della Scala, father of Cangrande, put and end to this civil war. And it’s not a myth: this was the neighbourhood of the Dukes of San Bonifacio, old enemies of the Montagues. Perhaps Juliet is a legendary heroine, but the tower/house in Via Cappello no. 23 really belonged to a family that was a rival of the Montagues; a house that since 1300, at least,  had belonged to the “Cappello” family whose faction, maybe, could have been the “Cappelletti”.

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