Verona is a lovely city, clean and energetic with a fair number of interesting archaeological monuments. But the first thing they take you to will almost certainly be "Juliet's balcony," after the great romantic heroine who never lived her nor, in fact, anyplace else. There you'll also see the wall--really two walls--full of messages--little notes penned out by countless nameless visitors and presented as entreaties to the spirit. They say the favored form of adhesive is chewing gum, so that in a short time they will all blow away, making room for the new batch.
All of which prompted me to wonder again: what, exactly, is the evolutionary function of these ex voto offerings? In this respect I don't see a dime's worth of difference between the Juliet wall in Verona and the wailing wall in Jerusalem nor letters to Santa Claus. Nor, I suppose, curse messages, where the sender writes "may my enemy be covered with honey and tied to an anthill"--and puts the document into a clay pellet or whatever. Query, is there a "Dracula wall" someplace in Transylvania?
Everybody does it, but what is the point? I mean, I can understand the function of religious feeling in a group as a kind of social glue, holding together tribes or fighting forces (religare="to bind fast"). But what is it with all these purely private utterances of impulse? At the moment, the only one I can think of is that it provides harmless employment--perhaps he only remaining source harmless of employment--for postal clerks from Juliettaville, Italia, to Santa Claus, Indiana.
By the way, at the Juliet wall, there is also a Juliet statue, where you can get your picture taken. There is also a "Club de Julietta," which seems to be a sewing shop, not the one she hits Romeo over the head with when he spends too much time with with Rosaline. It is said that if you want to get married in an aura of romance, the mayor of Verona will rent you Juliet's balcony for a mere 2,000 Euros. No word on whether they allow Elvis regalia.