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Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Saturday, 14 March 2009

'Juliet' balcony to host weddings

By Duncan Kennedy
BBC News, Rome

A couple kiss on the balcony of the House of Juliet in Verona, northern Italy, 13 March 2009
The balcony is one of Verona's most popular tourist destinations

The balcony where, according to William Shakespeare, Romeo wooed Juliet, is to be made available for weddings.

The authorities in the Italian city of Verona - setting for the tale of the two lovers - say they want to foster its image as a centre for romance.

The Casa Di Giulietta (house of Juliet) is in the heart of Verona.

Folklore suggests it was once the home of the Cappello family - possibly the model for the Capulets in Shakespeare's fictional play, Romeo and Juliet.

Although some historians say there is scant evidence to back this up, the balcony on the 14th century building is still one of the city's most popular tourist destinations.

From next month, you will be able to hire it as a venue for weddings.

But before you rush to this most romantic of settings consider the price - up to $1,300 (930) for non European Union residents.

Officials say they want to enhance the city's image as the perfect place for love and marriage.

But remember two things: first, that Italian health and safety laws are likely to prevent modern day Romeos from climbing up the balcony to woo their brides; and second, that Shakespeare's immortal work ends in tragedy.

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