The World's Most Beautiful Balconies
The recent outbreak of the coronavirus has sparked an unusual trend in Europe - that is, videos recorded from people's balconies. Recordings of empty streets overlooked by bustling balconies have become commonplace on social media and YouTube as millions of people across the continent are forced to go into quarantine. In today's article, we are going to take a look into some of the most beautiful balconies which Europe has to offer - perhaps one day, you may record your own video on one of these.
The Balcony of Juliet, Verona
Fans of Shakespeare (or those who were simply forced to read or watch it in school) will be familiar with the famous balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet, when Romeo presents himself beneath Juliet's window to declare his love for her at great risk of being discovered by the rival Capulet family. But did you know that there is a balcony in Verona which is said to have belonged to her? In the city of Verona, the setting of the play, there exists a house now called the Casa di Giulietta. Because of its similarity to the balcony often depicted in adaptations of the play (the original script makes no mention of a balcony, only a window), it has become associated with Shakespeare's romantic epic, and there is even a bronze statue of Juliet outside the building. While Juliet is of course a fictional character, visitors to the Casa di Giulietta often stick post-it notes to the wall beneath the building asking for her to help them with their own romantic issues. Somewhat ironic, given that Juliet died because of her own inability to sensibly manage her love life.
Embassy of Ecuador, London
The Embassy of Ecuador in London houses the Republic of Ecuador's diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom. It also provides refuge for Ecuadorian citizens in danger. It is for this reason that the embassy has become noteworthy. Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing site WikiLeaks, was holed up in the embassy for 7 years, being wanted by the governments of several nations for the crime of spreading classified government information. He was originally chased into the embassy by Swedish prosecutors, but was granted diplomatic immunity by the Ecuadorian government, making it illegal for foreign envoys to enter the compound and arrest the Australian journalist. The building's balcony became noteworthy after Assange made a number of public appearances from it, thus associating the metal facings with the image of the speaker of truth to power. Assange no longer inhabits the embassy, as Ecuadorian officials invited British police inside and allowed them to arrest him.
Balconies of Cusco
The balconies of Cusco are a collection of famous historical balconies built in the colonial city of Cusco, one of Peru's most important settlements. The balconies can be found all up and down the streets dating back to the days when Peru was a part of the Spanish Empire, and are a common site in the old city. Many believe that the balconies house special niches used to hide women from the public eye. If you ever pass by, keep an eye out and don't do anything wrong - anyone could be hiding there, watching you as you go about your business!
Balcony of St Peter's Basilica
Last of all comes the balcony of St Peter's Basilica, instantly recognisable to the millions of Catholics worldwide who watch the Pope's speeches. The balcony at St Peter's Basilica (the "Logga delle Benedizioni") has featured every pope since the 1600s, all of whom have used it to deliver masses and blessings to the crowds of worshippers in the plaza below. Pope Francis still uses it today to spread the Word of God to all those who tune in or attend mass at the Basilica, and also to give his "Urbi et Orbi" blessing at Christmastime and Easter.