A magnificent example of mausoleum that at the same time celebrates the persistence of memory is found in the nearby Scaliger Tombs, the sepulchral complex of the Lords of Verona and one of the best and most unique examples of Gothic sculpture, a real “stone garden”.
Sculptural wonders that did not exist at the time of Juliet. At that time, there was only the funerary monument of Alberto I in front of Santa Maria Antica. A sarcophagus of Roman inspiration with a two-sloped lid, depicting on one side Alberto I on his knees being presented by two angels to the Virgin enthroned and on the other side Alberto I in civilian clothes on horseback and holding a sword.
Juliet watches it absorbed as she plans her fictional death, determined to do it but with a fearful mind, almost as she could anticipate the tragic fate that awaits her.
Just a few steps away from the cemetery of the Scaligers, love is felt again. The tormented spirit of Romeo wants us to admire one of the most enchanting mediaeval houses of Verona: Casa Nogarole which according to tradition belonged to the Montague family.
Romeo’s house is like an urban castle, a sign of the importance of his family, and still today it features terracotta walls topped by merlons in the enclosed courtyard facing the street and the remains of an angular tower.
Outside the protection of the Scaliger walls, tragedy comes to its epilogue: the tomb of Juliet. It was another idea of Superintendent Avena who in 1938 chose an isolated place, but within a walking distance of the centre, as the stage for the end of this story that time will never erase. The stone sepulchre is located in a vault beneath the cloister of San Francesco al Corso, an enchanting ruined monastic complex that today is alive with the memory of the myth. And here we end our tour, a walk between history and legend, between life, dream and theatre.
For all who came with us, we’d like to bring to mind the advice of Alfred de Musset: “…do not leave without throwing a flower on Juliet’s tomb… the power of the Scaligers is no more, but the love of the ill-fated young couple still lives on in our memories, and will do so for as long as poetry exists.”