The Romeo and Juliet quest: now to the final part

[box type=”info”] This contest is now closed. Thanks everyone for your interest![/box]

Here we are at the end of the journey. I hope you’ve enjoyed chasing some of the puzzles we’ve set. And that when you hear the finished audiobook the quest for the answers makes it just a bit more vivid. Romeo and Juliet is fiction but the real world of Verona and the fascinating history of 1499 lie behind much of the story. Every one of these questions addresses some aspect of that time you will find in our adaptation.

Now to the last question and it’s a very simple one.

O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo?

One of the most famous quotations in Shakespeare? Hmmm…

Something’s wrong here. What is it? Why, briefly,  does it matter?

How to enter

It’s very simple. Send us your answers by email to You can copy and paste the questions below then insert your answers. Alternatively use the Word or text file you’ll find at the end to compose your email with the answers, preferably copied into the body of the email rather than as an attachment. You have until November 28 to submit them. There is no rush. You stand the same chance of winning whether you deliver early or late. The five winners will be picked at random. They will be announced on December 1 (so if you’ve won and you’ve pre-ordered you’ll still have time to cancel).

Remember: the prize is digital only. You must be able to use a download voucher with Audible to receive it. We can only deliver through Audible.

Here are the questions again in full to make entering a bit easier. We don’t need long answers or mini-essays and please don’t worry about your English. This is a test of your detective work not your language skills. All that’s required is an indication that you’ve got the right answer. Remember to include your name and the city and country you’re from (we’ve been amazed by how international the response has been to this competition to date). And don’t worry — your details won’t be shared with any other third party outside this website or used for any other purpose but this competition. Once the competition is over all entries will be permanently deleted. To review the questions again in their entirety run through the original posts here. As competitions always add… the decision of the random pick-the-winner chimp is final and we can’t enter into correspondence about the results.

Oh… and one last tip. I’ve already given away pretty much all the answers to these questions either on this website already or somewhere on Twitter. And yes, I know some of you have noticed… 😉

Thanks again. This has been great fun for me — I hope it was for you. David.


a) Which artist painted the Ursula cycle?

b) Where can you find the paintings now?

c) Why, in a few words, might Juliet identify with the saint?


a) Who is the ancient poet, born in Verona, that Romeo loves?

b) Why might Juliet’s mother ban his work from the house?

c) Dante, Petrarch and our unnamed Verona poet all wrote verses devoted to their individual muses, a woman they adored. Can you name the three muses each addressed in their work? It’s the name used in the poems we want, not, in the case of Petrarch and our ancient Roman, any guesses people might have had about their true identity.


a) Who was the woman who ruled Mantua at the time of the book?

b) Which notorious sister-in-law did she fall out with badly and why?

c) Which famous Venetian artist had to turn out a new and more flattering portrait of her after getting into hot water because his original was too true to life?


a) What was the name of the fiery priest who briefly ruled Florence?

b) Can you name the artist and his muse? Since this is far too easy can you also name the muse’s cousin-in-law who ended up having a country named after him? And the country?

c) What was the artist’s most fervent wish concerning his death — and was it granted?


a) What purpose did the Piazza Erbe serve in imperial Roman times?

b) What’s supposed to happen if someone who tells lies walks through the Arco della Costa?

c) What very striking emblem in the piazza tells you Verona once belonged to Venice?


Name the people in the paintings.

a) Something princely about him even if he was a commoner.

b) This chap was supposed to be saintly but failed that test on many accounts. He also went by two names. We’d like both.

c) Brilliant, bonkers or bad boy, this fellow came to a hot and sticky end in Florence. You might have met him here already.

d) This noble lady from Mantua is also someone you may have encountered hereabouts. Here she is sketched by an artist she knew personally. One Leonardo da Vinci.


a) One of the best Garganega wines from the Verona region is a dry and often straw-coloured white named after a small comune of fewer than seven thousand inhabitants to the east, now famous worldwide. What’s it called?

b) When Friar Laurence has married Romeo and Juliet in this version he proposes a toast from a bottle of his own, a wine you might expect a priest to have at hand. Here are a few lines from the script…

It was the oldest, most precious vintage he had… from Tuscany, made from a harvest dried on hurdles set above the ground then fermented slowly and stored. Ten years old this was. Sweet as honey and much the same colour.

‘The grape’s Malvasia,’ he pointed out. ‘Not Garganega or Trebbiano. So I sit in the middle of your two warring houses and pray with this ceremony those pointless battles may be over.’

What wine — Tuscan, a dessert one — was Laurence offering them?


a) Those swallow-tail features on the Castelvecchio battlements, sometimes made with arrow slits, can be seen in different designs in castles across Europe. The feuding Italian factions called the Guelphs and Ghibellines even identified their loyalties by building them in a particular style — the Verona ones are Ghibelline. What are these features called?

b) Why is it unlikely the players in this story, set in 1499, would call Escalus’s fortress the ‘Castelvecchio’?


Why didn’t Charles Dickens mention what we now regard as Verona’s most famous sight, the balcony on ‘Juliet’s house’?


a) When he wasn’t on church duties, what hobby, according to legend, did Zeno love to enjoy in his spare time?

b) The famous rose window of San Zeno, above, with its rising and falling figures in joy and despair, depicts a philosophical concept about the capricious nature of fate. One that resonates with Juliet though many people will also associate it with a TV show. What’s that concept called?


Where did the girl in the painting and sixteen other works of art from the Castelvecchio end up on their unexpected journey and why?


In Mercutio’s mind it’s highly unlikely that Cangrande would have been laughing at death in his last moments because rumour had it he was assassinated. Was Mercutio right? And if so… how did Cangrande really die?


O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo?

One of the most famous quotations in Shakespeare? Hmmm…

What’s wrong here? Why, briefly,  does it matter?

Here are the questions as a Word file and as plain text.

Word file questions

Text file questions

Good luck everyone!

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