Dear Juliet …

Begun by Ettore Solimani, the son of the first secretary of the original Club de Giulietta, in the early 1930s, the tradition of answering Juliet's letters has continued for generations. Originally a one-man (or one-woman) job, the outpouring of correspondence has grown to such an extent that it takes the work of nine secretaries to personally answer each letter Juliet receives.

Originally a men's club aimed at maintaining the traditions and legends of the city of Verona, the Club di Giulietta, under the leadership of Giulio Tamassia, began awarding the Cara Giulietta prize in 1993. In the past decade, the awards ceremony, held at Casa di Giulietta, has attracted numerous Italian stars, such as ballerina Carla Fracci, film director Franco Zefferelli, actress Giulietta Masina and celebrated tenor Andrea Bocelli.

So, what do these letters teach us about love and human beings? "What I learned about love, about yearning, about desire is that I knew it was universal," said Friedman. "But I understand something now about people's need, their desire to express themselves even if there isn't a person there to express themselves to."

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