Modern Romeos and Juliets can tie knot in Verona

VERONA, Italy Wed Jun 3, 2009 9:41am EDT

1 of 8. Luca Ceccarelli (R) kisses his wife Irene Lanforti after getting married at Casa di Giulietta in Verona June 1, 2009. Casa di Giulietta, or Juliet's House, is a museum dedicated to Shakespeare's 'Romeo & Juliet' play. The museum contains frescoes, paintings and other artefacts related to the story. Ceccarelli and Lanforti are the first couple recorded to marry at the 'Juliet's balcony', claimed by locals to be the very same balcony Juliet cried out for her lover Romeo.

Credit: Reuters/Alessandro Garofalo

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VERONA, Italy (Reuters) - A modern-day Romeo finally got his girl Monday when the northern Italian city of Verona opened up the balcony where Juliet pined for her lover as a venue for weddings.

The 13th century mansion of the Cappello family -- believed to be the Capulets of William Shakespeare's tragic play "Romeo and Juliet" -- has for years been a place of pilgrimage for lovers worldwide, who have scrawled love messages on its walls.

Now, Verona's town council is offering couples the chance to follow in the footsteps of Shakespeare's "star-crossed lovers" and see for themselves "what light from yonder window breaks."

The first Romeo to take advantage of the offer was soccer player star Luca Ceccarelli, who plays for local team Verona.

"I feel very emotional. You know, marriage always gives strong emotions especially in a situation like this," said a beaming Ceccarelli, before exchanging rings with his Juliet, Irene Lamforti. "We hope that this bring us a lot of luck."

But it does not come cheaply. A normal civil wedding license in Italy costs about 45 euros ($64): for non-European citizens the Verona license will cost nearly 900 euros, with EU non-Verona couples paying approximately 700 euros.

At that price, lovers will hope for a happy ending.

(Reporting by Eleanor Biles, editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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