Rome: It is meant to bring good fortune to those who are unlucky in love, but a tradition of rubbing the right breast of a bronze statue of Juliet has left it looking decidedly the worse for wear.

Thou shall not touch: The city council head said that the right breast of Juliet’s statue had been worn down from all the rubbing, and the right arm had also been damaged. File Pic/AFP

The caressing touch of tens of thousands of thwarted romantics has done such damage that the statue was removed from the courtyard of what is known as Juliet’s House in Verona, the city where Shakespeare set his tale of “star-cross’d lovers”.

A foundry has been commissioned to make a replica at a cost of £16,500 (Rs 17 lakh).

The original statue will be consigned to a museum, far from the daily assault of the broken-hearted and incurably romantic.
“The statue is showing signs of wear and tear, not just from being touched by so many tourists, but also because of rain and the effects of the weather,” Erika Righetti, from the Verona city council, said, adding, “It will take about a week for the foundry to make a mould, so that they can produce a new statue, which will then replace the old one.”

The wear and tear to the statue, which is of modern creation and has stood in the courtyard since 1972, included a crack in Juliet’s right breast, which has been worn shiny by contact with so many hands, and another fracture in her right arm, which people often lean on, as they have their photographs taken.

“People climb up onto the base of the statue and hang onto her,” said Giulio Tamassia, the president of the Juliet Club, an association linked to the tourist site.

>> Thousands of tourists visit the statue in Verona, Italy
>> Constant rubbing by the tourists has worn out the right breast
>>  City council has decided to replace the statue with a replica