“True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy…”
A few months ago I watched Letters To Juliet. I knew that it was a light romantic drama filmed almost entirely in Italy. I wasn’t expecting much from the film except for some gorgeous cinematography and light entertainment.
The movie is about a letter written to Shakespeare’s Juliet from the infamous play, Romeo and Juliet. The letter, written 50 years before the movie begins, was penned by a British woman named Claire (played by Vanessa Redgrave) who at the time of writing the letter, yearned for her abandoned Italian boyfriend. Sophie, a writer, finds the letter and is inspired to discover who wrote it.
Sophie learns that every day there are hundreds of letters written to Juliet. Not only that but Juliet has secretaries who answer all of her letters! Sophie meets with Juliet’s secretaries, tells them about the found letter, and together they decide she should answer the letter and give Claire some encouragement to pursue finding the long lost boyfriend.
Of course, when Claire reads the letter she immediately takes off for Verona but, not alone. Her handsome son Charlie accompanies her. Ok, you can imagine what comes next, but bear with me!
When Claire meets with Sophie, Sophie convinces her that searching for Lorenzo is a worthwhile endeavor and off they go, looking for Claire’s long lost Romeo in the Tuscan countryside. With Charlie driving.
The story is a bit predictable but if you look past that there is something deeper.
Writing Inspiration and romance
Yes, Claire found her Romeo, and so did Sophie! But what’s inspiring about this movie is not the romantic storylines. The real story is, Sophie found her passion in Italy– writing. Sophie wanted to be a writer, but she had been floundering in New York. The discovery of the letter from Claire to Juliet was the jump-start her writing career needed. It’s important to note that Claire followed her instincts, even though the whole thing seemed ridiculous. By listening to her intuition she found love and a successful career. I believe it is through our intuition, however, it expresses itself, that we can have our heart’s desire.
I was also fascinated to discover that the secretaries of Juliet are real. They pen answers to thousands of letters from all over the world. The home of Juliet, real or not, is one of the most popular tourist sites in Italy. It doesn’t matter that the balcony is a 20th-century addition. Nor, that Juliet is a mythical character. For those that write the letters, she is real.
Though Letters to Juliet begins in fair Verona, most of it is shot in Tuscany. Still, I saw enough of Verona to be intrigued. I’m loosely planning a trip to Venice with a day or two in Verona. It will certainly include a visit to Juliet’s home. Now that I know about the secretaries I want to see the courtyard and the famous wall where the letters are left. Who knows what will happen there? If I don’t follow my intuition, I will never know.
What inspires you? What are you passionate about? Do you have a special place that gets your creative energy flowing? Check out this article about another Italian destination for romance, the Amalfi Coast.
If you need an Italy fix, watch Letters to Juliet. Sit down with a bottle of wine and plate of antipasti and feast your eyes on the gorgeous scenery. If you are a romantic sort you’ll love the story.
For more Italian movie inspiration check out this article with so many great movies you’ll be busy for months.
If you do visit Verona, be sure to take a tour with Romeo and Juliet Guided Tours.