The succession of these violent events makes it easier for us to imagine the social climate of the 14th century in Verona, dominated by a gloomy atmosphere of infighting between rival families. This atmosphere is considerably suggestive for Shakespeare’s imagination. The great playwright sees Italy, Veneto in particular, as a place full of exotic charm where everything is taken to the extreme, political intrigue and love passions, deadly rivalries and bloody revenge. The place itself becomes a theatre, and the theatre mirrors life.
Following the killing of Tybalt, death becomes the protagonist of the drama. The events, linked to each other by tragic fate, run inexorably towards the cruel conclusion of the story. Bartolomeo della Scala, indignant, condemns Romeo to exile. The young Montague moves away from Verona, distraught as he leaves his love behind. “There is no world without Verona walls… but purgatory, torture, hell itself”. We like to imagine that his voice can still be heard like a distant echo bouncing on the austere walls that surround the place that sealed his fate: the austere Courtyard of Palazzo Comunale.
With its three porches, the regular decoration of the walls alternating tuff and baked clay, the majestic stone staircase added in the fifteenth century, this place (known today as Cortile del Mercato Vecchio because it was used in the late Middle Ages for fodder trade), still retains the imposing appearance that is normally associated with power. Palazzo Comunale is an urban castle enriched by towers, two of which were preserved to this day.
In particular, the highest tower, called Torre dei Lamberti after the family that owned it initially, offers a splendid panoramic view of the city from its top.
“There is no world without Verona walls… but purgatory, torture, hell itself” cries Romeo in pain and now, fascinated by the beauty of these places, we have to agree with him!
In this silent place, to those who know how to listen, the stones will tell a cruel story of love and death, youth and tragedy, the story that they witnessed, the story that today guides our steps.