(July 2009) Verona’s Teatro Stabile is in dire need of renovation. Verona, needless to expound, is Romeo and Juliet, the lovers’ balcony and the inner court of Casa da Giulietta, where sheer hoards of tourists gather to paste their declarations of passion on the wall. Since the theatre directly adjoins Capulet’s Courtyard, it seemed only logical to make a virtue of the obvious and exploit the pecuniary potential of passion. As Verona is the capital of Italy’s natural stone province at the foot of the Alps, stone had to figure in the equation.
Thus „Lovestones” came into being and are being sold to locals and tourists alike since the end of September 2008. The Lovestone can be personalized by having a declaration of love engraved in the stone. The cobblestones are then used to pave the terrace of Casa de Giulietta above the balcony. Lovers may chose between two types of limestone, called marble in trade circles: the dark Verona negro or the red Verona rosso. The stones measure 5 cm x 5 cm.
100 € a piece is the asking price. So far 300 have been sold but there is room for 60,000. The profits are dedicated to the refurbishment of the theatre and to innovative actors’ projects.
Included in the price is a certificate of purchase as well as a map depicting the exact location of the personal declaration. A second stone – a copy of the first – can be purchased for 35 €, or two for 45 € including shipping. Interested parties need not make the trip to Verona: Lovestones can be ordered from abroad and engraved according to the buyer’s wishes.
The project is supported by Mapei and Stone Italiana as well as other companies outside the stone branch
To jog readers’ memory: Romeo and Juliet tells the story of two star-crossed lovers, members of two rivalling families; the feuding ultimately leads to the untimely death of the youths. Despite the fatal circumstances, in which the two houses find themselves, the playwright leaves an air of hope: the families reconcile their differences at the grave of their children.