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8 vacations based on books

Romeo and Juliet balcony in Verona

Photo: Keith Laverack/Flickr

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'Romeo and Juliet' in Verona

Finding settings from novels written a few decades or even a century ago is simple compared to finding the places that inspired the likes of historic authors such as William Shakespeare. "Romeo and Juliet," arguably the bard's most famous work, was set in Verona, an Italian city that has a thriving tourist scene. Like nearby Venice, and many other metropolises in Italy, Verona boasts a lot of historic places that were standing when the story of the doomed lovers was first performed in the 16th century.  In fact, scholars believe that the story was actually based on Italian legends that are hundreds of year's older than Shakespeare's play.

Though it is impossible to know if Shakespeare actually had certain real locations in mind, or if he went to Verona to do research at all, local tradition holds that some sites are the settings for this famous tragedy. Juliet's balcony is a pilgrimage site of sorts. It is certainly easy to imagine Shakespeare's scenes taking place in the historic enclosed courtyard. Guide Verona offers walking tours that visit this and other sites such as Romeo's home and the tomb where Juliet was buried. While the historical accuracy of these sites is debatable, Verona doesn’t lack a sense of history, so it’s easy to spark your imagination while visiting.