Metro

Behind the Story

Tourists love that Juliet statue — too much, in fact

A tourist takes a picture of the bronze statue of Juliette Capulet under the balcony of her house.
MAURIZIO LAPIRA/AFP/Getty Images
A tourist takes a picture of the bronze statue of Juliette Capulet under the balcony of her house.

The incident that landed a prominent Boston surgeon in trouble with colleagues has its roots in a curious Italian tradition.

Let’s lay our scene in fair Verona, where legend has it that touching the breast of a bronze statue of Juliet, Shakespeare’s star cross’d heroine, will revive the romantic fortunes of the broken-hearted.

The problem is, all the attention by thousands of tourists over the years exacted a heavy toll on the statue, according to media reports. The damage included a crack in Juliet’s right breast and another fracture in her right arm, which tourists often lean on as they have photographs taken.

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In 2014, authorities relocated the statue to a museum for some restoration and hands-off display. A replica now graces the courtyard.

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As the Globe’s Liz Kowalczyk reports, Dr. Jon Einarsson, speaking at a medical conference in November, showed a photograph of himself and a colleague touching the statue.

The incident ignited a broader discussion about sexism and sexual misconduct in the medical community.