Juliet Club has been made famous by the movie Letters to Juliet, but did you know that it actually exists? Keep reading to find out how to live a special experience in the name of love and writing…
If you’ve watched the movie ‘Letters to Juliet’, then you’ll know about this place. But what you may not know is that this club exists in real life, too! Each year thousands of people from all over the world write to Juliet to talk about their love life, and there’s a group of volunteers, known as Juliet’s secretaries, that make sure each and every letter gets answered.
Where is it?
Juliet’s Club is located in the heart of Verona historic center, on the ground floor of a pretty courtyard close to the Church of Sant’Anastasia. It’s easy to miss because it’s in a tiny alley with no big signs, so make sure you have a map with you.
Also, don’t expect to see the same spaces depicted in the movie. There’s only one room and no trattoria next door, but the moment you step inside, you are surrounded by magic.
Letters from every corner of the world are piled everywhere and there’s an old cupboard that holds boxes of letters already sorted by language. Juliet’s secretaries sit at the big table at the center of the room armed with pen and paper, and the back wall is lined with rows of boxes where each letter is kept once it gets answered… a unique archive of love stories!
How to write to Juliet
If you are in Verona you can leave your letter in one of the red letterboxes located in Juliet’s House or at the Club itself. Alternatively you can send the letter to the Club and don’t worry if you don’t remember the address – simply write “Juliet, Verona” and the letter will arrive. For real! And if you still prefer the keyboard to pen and paper, Juliet can be reached also via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the letters get to the club, the secretaries sort them by language and start writing back. Expect to wait about 2-3 months before getting a reply, though. Letters keep coming and the whole answering process takes some time.
The story of the Club
The story of Juliet Club goes back to the 1930’s, when the guardian of Juliet’s tomb, Ettore Solimani, started to collect the letters left by visitors and to write back to them, thus becoming the first official secretary of Juliet. Today this fascinating tradition continues thanks to the Club, that was founded by Giulio Tamassia and a group of local intellectuals in 1972.
Nowadays there are about 50 volunteers from all around the world, who manage to answer about 300 letters per month.
Every year the club organizes the Cara Giulietta award for the best letters sent to Juliet and celebrates Juliet’s birthday in September. The Club is also very active during Verona in Love, a festival to celebrate love that usually takes place during the week of Valentine’s Day in February.
How to become a Juliet’s secretary
Juliet Club is always looking for help to answer the hundreds of letters arriving each month. Anyone can become a Juliet secretary, either for a day or for a longer period of time. There’s a specific section of the website dedicated to volunteers and anyone with a passion for Juliet’s story and writing letters is more than welcome. You can write an email to them and check their schedule.
If writing letters to strangers is not your cup of tea, you can still pay a visit to the club to learn about its history and meet the secretaries, or book a guided tour that will take you through the key sites of Romeo and Juliet’s love story in Verona.
My experience as a secretary of Juliet
I first learned about the Juliet Club when I watched the movie Letters to Juliet and I’ve been wanting to visit it for years. During a recent trip to Verona, I finally managed to spend a few hours at the club to meet the secretaries and help reply to the letters.
At first I must admit that reading someone else’s inner thoughts felt a little weird. Some stories can be pretty sad and poignant, others make you smile. They are mostly written by teenagers who are lovesick or looking for , but I found also letters by mothers and men. Of course you are not supposed to find solutions for them, but rather to offer advice and hope through words.
In a time when smartphones and social media have clearly changed the way we interact and communicate with each other, finding a place like this where people still write letters by hand to express their deep feelings and emotions is truly fascinating. So, what are you waiting for? Write your letter to Juliet – you’ll be answered:
Vicolo Santa Cecilia, 9 – 37121 Verona