A couple who fell in love from their balconies during lockdown in the Italian city of Verona have announced their engagement.
Michele D’Alpaos and Paola Agnelli – whose love story has been compared to Shakespearean couple Romeo and Juliet – have confirmed that they are engaged during an interview with The Times.
During Italy’s coronavirus lockdown, residents of many towns and cities took to their balconies to sing together as a way to raise morale and keep each other company.
Just like Romeo and Juliet, the couple struck up a relationship from across their balconies, meeting each other’s eyes during a 6pm live music performance to lift neighbours spirits. Michele and Paola then met in person in a local park in May, and their romance has flourished ever since.
“We are absolutely getting married and all we have to do is set the date,” Michele said. “We are considering a ceremony on the large roof terrace of my building, which would make sense since we met on our balconies.”
Michele also hung a large banner with Paola’s name on the roof of his building, which launched their notoriety in the media as an Italian life story for the coronavirus era. Their relationship during lockdown consisted of phone calls and gazing at each other over their balconies.
Since quarantine was lifted, the couple have spent time together at the beach with Michele’s parents, as well as in the Alps with Paola’s mother.
While they are still living separately the couple are spending weekends in an apartment in the city that Michele owns, and may move in there once they’re married.
“This relationship is real and something to protect,” Paola said. “Meeting like that was our destiny and it is wonderful that we could fall in love in the midst of such a tragic event.”
“It’s almost as if he was sent to me. Lockdown has ended but he makes me laugh by still flashing a torch from his apartment at night to say hello, and we still phone each other from our balconies when saying goodnight.”