Michele D'Alpaos and Paola Agnelli are from the city of Verona where Shakespeare's famous tragedy was set.
The coronavirus crisis forced the world to be restricted into their homes and while many had a tough time adjusting to the new reality, Michele D'Alpaos found his soulmate. The 38-year-old from Italy distinctly remembers the first time he laid eyes on 40-year-old Paola Agnelli as she was walking across the terrace of her apartment in Verona. Recalling the beautiful moment, D'Alpaos told CNN, "It was the afternoon of March 17, when I was forced to work from home because of the lockdown." It was love at first sight for D'Alpaos. "I saw this beautiful girl, Paola. I was immediately struck by the beauty of this girl, by her smile. I had to know her," he continued.
#Italian #couple ‘Romeo and Juliet’ #met from their #balconies during #lockdown. Now they’re #engage By Sydney Page #TheWashingtonPost / Michele D’Alpaos, 38, wrote the name of his #love interest on an old bedsheet / https://t.co/TfrWNJtmgA— Doris Gomora (@DorisGomora) September 25, 2020
Much like Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, these two first met on their balconies and become a modern-day Romeo and Juliet. What's even noteworthy is that they are from the same city (Verona) as the literary couple which is now famous across the globe for Shakespeare's famous romantic play. D'Alpaos and Agnelli had been living in buildings opposite form each other for almost all their lives but were unaware of each other's existence. This changed one afternoon when Agnelli's sister played the violin on their balcony while she tried to do everything to raise the spirits of her quarantined neighbors.
This quarantine love story between Michele D’Alpaos and Paola Agnelli from Verona, Italy started and lasted through the lockdown all from meeting on their balconies. They are now engaged and will get married on their roof!— Encourage Minute (@HeidiRew) September 25, 2020
Check out their story: https://t.co/bac9RVQWDZ pic.twitter.com/wMXHJnd4ol
That's when D'Alpaos noticed Agnelli and she caught his gaze. "I immediately thought, 'What a beautiful boy,'" she told CNN, adding. "I believe he was sent to me from heaven." Although they couldn't physically meet, fate had its way of bringing the two together. Agnelli happened to know D'Alpaos as they went to the same gym and were even connected on Instagram. D'Alpaos then created his own Instagram account just to strike up a conversation with Agnelli. "One message after another, we ended up chatting until late at night," said D'Alpaos.
Love in the time of coronavirus -— NHS North East Essex (@NEECCG) April 23, 2020
Paola Agnelli and Michele D’Alpaos live in Verona, Italy, the city of Romeo and Juliet. Paola and Michele managed to fall in love from a distance, and like in Shakespeare's play, their love story also involves a balconyhttps://t.co/hGMAiyVsbf
"By then I was just waiting to wake up in the morning to be able to talk to her again. We had so many things in common, from food to politics, she was very nice, she always laughed at my jokes, even the most stupid ones," he said. The two spent days talking and learning about each other as Italy remained under strict lockdown. Although they had no choice but to remain apart, D'Alpaos made it a point to express his love for her with his romantic tactics. One day he surprised Agnelli by painting her name in huge letters on a white bedsheet and hanging it from his building. "The greatest difficulty of a courtship from the balcony compared to a normal one is to woo a person by stimulating them in the soul and not simply relying on physical appearance. You have to get their attention and never fall into monotony," he said. "You don't get a chance to set the mood by going out to a nice place or anything like that. Everything is centered only on the two of us."
Ils auraient pu ne jamais se rencontrer : Paola Agnelli, avocate de 39 ans, et Michele d'Alpaos, 38 ans, vivaient à 30 mètres de distance, dans des immeubles se faisant face, sans jamais s'être croisés. Puis le destin s’en est mêlé. https://t.co/6h8cIgn3Mw— Marie Claire (@marieclaire_fr) September 29, 2020
After two months since the beginning of their love story, the two finally met on May 4 in a garden near their homes. "We didn't even talk, we sat on a bench and kissed for half an hour like two teenagers," said D'Alpaos. After spending birthdays together, surprising each other at the beach, and dating each other for some time, they realized that they had found the one. There love for each other and chemistry had translated into their real life as well and now the happy couple is engaged. That being said, the two have decided to keep details of their future private and there are reportedly no wedding date or venue plans currently. But they have a shared hope of starting their own family. D'Alpaos knows that Shakespeare's tragedy is about on two rival families and the sad fate of Romeo and Juliet that "ends in tragedy with the two of them committing suicide." He sure hopes that's not the case for them at least. "Let's hope our story has a better ending than theirs," he said.