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Romeo and Juliet: Couple’s pandemic love story starts from their balconies

In true Shakespearean style, two Italians began a romantic story this year from their respective balconies during the coronavirus lockdown. And it all took place in Verona — the same city where “Romeo and Juliet” took place. But unlike Shakespeare’s classic tale, this pandemic love story doesn’t have a sad ending as the Covid-19 sweethearts are now engaged to be married.

The story starts in mid-March when Michele D’Alpaos, 38, first saw Paola Agnelli from his window. Agnelli stood directly across from him on her sixth-floor balcony while her sister performed a violin rendition of “We Are The Champions” as part of a nightly musical performance, intended to uplift the quarantined neighborhood.

D’Alpaos wanted to talk to her, but he didn’t have a way to contact her. Fortunately for him, his sister had met Agnelli at the gym before the lockdown and gave him Agnelli’s name. When he found her on Instagram, he made himself an account and reached out to her.

“When he contacted me, I was happy, but I didn’t want to deceive myself,” said Agnelli. But to her surprise, the conversation stretched past 3 AM, which led them to have daily contact via the phone for the following 10 weeks. At one point, D’Alpaos even hung an old bedsheet with “Paola” emblazoned in big, bold bubble letters from his balcony to put his love on full display.

Then, in early May, the two finally got to meet in a local park where, at long last, they removed their masks to share a kiss. After a powerful start to their relationship and meeting each other’s families, the couple has decided they want to spend the rest of their lives together.

Lockdowns across the world led to difficult living situations, especially in cities, but at the very least it’s beautiful to see a rather unique love story come out of it.

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