Facing the same little square of Church St. Anastasia, there’s a little oratory, dedicated to St. Peter Martyr, now deconsecrated, its original name being Church of San Giorgetto (St. George)
The church of St Giorgetto was built by the Dominicans in the late thirteenth century, a few years before the work of the construction of the nearby basilica of St. Anastasia began; certainly work on its construction should be well under way already in 1283, when the outer wall was set the ark of the noble Guinicello dei Principi. Around the mid fourteenth century it became a sort of private chapel for the german knights at the service of the court of Cangrande II della Scala, who resided in the Palace of the Eagle on the other side of the square (where there is now the luxury hotel Two Towers). Devotees of Saint George, the holy soldier, the knights adorned it with many votive frescoes and their coats of arms. In 1424 he was entrusted to the Dominican and officially dedicated to St. Peter Martyr, but although six hundred years have passed, for the people of Verona it continues to be the Church of San Giorgetto. Deconsecrated and confiscated during the time of Napoleon, in 1807 it was sold to the City of Verona, who still owns it. The simple external structure in brick, with no special ornaments, is divided by thin pilasters and crowned with a delicate pattern of hanging arches.
The nave interior covered by two vaults and no apse, is the city major galleries of frescoes of the fourteenth century, able to compete with those of San Zeno and Santa Anastasia. There are bands with plant motifs, coats of arms of German knights and depictions of devotees with their weapons that St. George and other saints present to the Madonna. Special attention deserve two panes on the left side of the counter, by Bartolomeo Badile (whose signature appears below the Virgin and Child receiving the homage of the client) and the sixteenth-century allegory of the Annunciation, built by the magnificent fresco painter and architect Giovanni Maria Falconetto, which is at the top of the east wall (previous four photos).
Above the arch that led to the Dominican monastery is the urn built in 1321 as the grave for Guglielmo da Castelbarco, the noble man who started the construction of Church St. Anastasia.
Other urns are set against the side wall leading to the monastery, the marble one of Leonardo da Quinto (with the body of the deceased beautifully portrait on the sarcophagus) and that of Bartolomeo Dussaini, raised off the ground and placed under a trefoil arch.
Then, it was time for us to follow the steps of the most famous lovers in the world (and the most unfortunate ones). We started with Juliet’s home, and a marble plaque remembers it…
At number 23 in Via Cappello, a natural extension of Via Mazzini a few meters from the central Piazza delle Erbe, stands the house where, according to the local tradition, lived Juliet Capulet. An imposing wrought iron gate which bears the emblem of the Dal Cappello family, separates his hall (where lovers from all over the world and of all age leave testimony of their love) from the public road.
The hall leads to a small but bright courtyard. In it there is the beautiful bronze statue of Juliet, created by the local sculptor Nereo Costantini, and a marble plaque on which are some verses of Shakespeare’s tragedy. You always see lots of people touching Juliet’s breast (it’s almost impossible to take a pic of Juliet statue entirely and alone) because it’s a goos luck gesture….
The house has a severe aspect as every thirteenth-century medieval building, whose facade brick is softened by elegant trefoil windows. In the front stands the famous balcony balcony from which, according to the tradition, Juliet stood to speak with her Romeo. Arranged on several floors it can be visited with a ticket, and it provides a plausible reconstruction of the typical Venetian mansions of the fourteenth century, enhanced by a plentiful selection of medieval ceramics. Thanks to the meticulous restoration of the interior made in 1935 by Antonio Avena is now possible to appreciate the refined elegance of the frescoes that adorned the walls that stand out in their austere simplicity, inlaid wooden chests, brick fireplaces, wooden stairs with balustrades and walkways .
In the photos below, the costumes of Romeo and Juliet, and the bed of Juliet, used in Zeffirelli’s film.
Not so far away, there’s Roemo’s home. The building is a typically medieval, grandiose and externally well preserved home. A building almost imposing, on three sides around a large courtyard and hidden with a high embattled wall from the side facing the public street. On the inside the house was originally equipped with a spacious porch, visible today almost intact in the front wall, while on the right it has been incorporated into the building and to the left was covered by structures built in later times. To the left of the entrance is the staircase leading to the upper floors, where, among the red twelfth century bricks, Romanesque windows alternate with gothic and renaissance ones, surmounted by several tracts of a beautiful original battlements. Unfortunately, being the recently renovated building of private property, it is not allowed to visit the inner courtyard.
“I will bury you in a grave … A glorious tomb? Oh no, young unfortunate! A flower bed awaits you, a bright room you prepare, that illuminates all around the angelic face of Juliet “(William Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Act V scene III)
Last act of the tragedy…. we visited Juliet’s grave. Dating back to 1937, Juliet’s tomb is located in a former convent of the 13th century established by the Capuchin friars. Here, the Director of Verona Museums, Antonio Avena, had placed the tomb of the young Capulet here,considering that, starting from the early nineteenth century, an empty sarcophagus of red marble placed in the garden of the former convent had been regarded as the burial place of Shakespearean heroine.
Back on our path, we were again in Piazza delle Erbe (Herbs square)…..but that’s another long post….