#47, Verona, Italy
Being suckered into seeing the Casa di Giulietta in Verona felt a little bit like standing outside of the bright green general store in Wall Drug, South Dakota. A clever marketing campaign combined with idle curiosity and the fact that, whatever your skeptical brain may tell you, your coordinates are simply too close to allow you to not see the attraction everyone says is a must-see, all conspire to lead you to this tourist trap. You are underwhelmed, to say the least, when you learn that "Juliet's balcony" was in fact attached to an entirely random courtyard window in 1929, though you didn't expect to be overwhelmed or even whelmed in the slightest. You dislike wearing your moment of jadedness like a badge of honor -- it's just too easy -- so instead of complaining about how banal it is that ignorant pilgrims from all over the world come to the Via Cappello to declare their undying love for someone-or-other by sticking Post-it notes to the stone wall with bits of chewing gum, you take a minute and read these declarations of love. You think about IGOR + DIANE. You think for a moment about Shakespeare penning poor Igor's lovestruck monologue. And then you move on.
Once more, the beauty of decay acts as a backdrop to this number, offset here by the crispness and dignity of the 47. I found this one underneath a balcony (no, not Juliet's) and loved the smoky, earthy colors and textures of the wall. The muted shades of rust and stone and the tactile peeling layers remind me of an Anselm Kiefer painting. It's the unexpected beauty that catches the eye, though you wouldn't have thought to look this way if you weren't trying desperately to not look that way. You know, where everyone else is looking.