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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 December 2004, 16:03 GMT
Romeos to come unstuck in Verona
Note-covered wall near Juliet's balcony in Verona
Many notes are written on sweet wrappings and stuck on with gum (Photo: Euan Cartwright)
Verona's authorities are slapping a ban on Romeos leaving written love notes near a balcony made famous by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

They say the scribbled messages are being fixed on by chewing gum - making a mess of the 13th century walls.

Lovers will be urged to post their notes by text or online - to be flashed on a screen being erected instead.

"It seemed the best solution to us," said a tourism official, adding it would appeal to young people.

Tourists in the northern Italian city of Verona make a point of visiting Juliet's house, in reality a former inn.

The tiny marble balcony and courtyard has become the place where, in William Shakespeare's 16th century play, Romeo declares his love for Juliet.

Clean-up

"This house is the stuff of legends. It has an effect on people - not just our younger visitors," said Francesca Tamellini, responsible for tourism at Verona city council.

But romantics compelled to leave their own prose at the site has caused unforeseen problems for the authorities.

Many of the notes have been stuck on with chewing gum, which is destroying the ancient building.

"It is time to clean the building, because people aren't just writing on the walls of the entrance arch, they are sticking notes on the wall with gum," Ms Tamellini was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

"It has become really ugly."

She said they want people to send text messages, which will flash up on a giant glass screen to be put up in the courtyard, possibly by next summer.

"It seemed the best solution to us. It will appeal to young people, who are the first to want to send their messages," she said.




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