The year 2020 is sure to go down in history as a challenging time, but for one couple, it was the year that changed their lives for the better. Michele and Paola were single residents of the same apartment building in Verona, Italy. While quarantining on their balconies, Michele spotted Paola and it was love at first sight. Read on to see how the romantic won over his Juliet, and what their happy ending looks like now.
Living In The Romeo And Juliet City
This is the apartment building where Michele and Paola both fatefully resided. It is suitably located in Vienna, Italy, the setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Though they both have lived there most of their lives, they never crossed paths.
With the coronavirus in full effect, residents around the world started sharing music and singing out of their balconies. Michele and Paola's community did the same, and one evening the modern Romeo spotted his future Juliet.
Paola's Sister Was Playing Violin When Michele Saw Her
Some couple's claim that they "heard music" when they first met. As though in a movie, this was the actual case for Paola and Michele. Paola's sister decided to put on a nightly 6 p.m. performance to lift the apartment community's spirits.
It was her rendition of the song "We Are The Champions" that caught Michele's attention. As he watched the talented performer, he found himself locking eyes with her lovely sister, Paola. Without even having to talk, the chemistry was apparent.
A Magical Moment
Michele was on the 7th level, and Paola was on the 6th. They were in separate buildings so that they faced one another, but where still 40 meters apart. Even so, they were instantly attracted to one another.
Paola told The Washington Post that it was "a magical moment" explaining, "I immediately thought, 'What a beautiful boy.'" Likewise, Michele told the publication, "I was immediately struck by the beauty of this girl, by her smile. I had to know her."
Separated By Social Distancing
Michele and Paola had their magical moment in March, at which point Italy's coronavirus numbers were sky high and rampant in every part of the country. Their biggest spike in cases came on March 21st, with 6,557 reported in just that one day.
With the country on lockdown, it was going to be just about impossible for Michele to meet the woman of his dreams. Still, he at least wanted the chance to get to know her.
Michele Knew Paola's Sister
Lucky for Michele, he had recognized Paola's sister Lisa, the one who had been playing the violin. Before quarantine, the two had met at a gym they both go to. He was able to reach out to her to inquire about Paola.
Lisa gave Michele her sister's name, with which he was able to find her on social media. He discovered Paola's Instagram, but didn't have an account. Michele was so determined that he made an Instagram right then and there just to message her.
Falling For Eachother Online
Michele and Paola must have had a sixth sense when they locked eyes on the balcony because as soon as they started talking the love was apparent. Their conversations were so stimulating that they would sometimes stay up until 3 in the morning talking.
Since Paola lives with her sister, the lovebirds would sometimes ask Lisa to play something for them. The romance was in the air, but they still had yet to meet in person.
Paola Didn't Want To Get In Over Her Head
Though Paola and Michele's connection was instant, the 40-year-old didn't want to get ahead of herself. As anyone with dating experience knows, the initial excitement isn't always lasting.
She said in an interview, "When he contacted me, I was happy, but I didn’t want to deceive myself." After all, they barely knew one another. However, the distance led to long and meaningful conversations. Paola soon realized that they have shared values "you could build a relationship on."
Michele Wanted To Show How Much He Cares
Since the couple couldn't be in close proximity, it became challenging to express how much they were starting to fall for one another. As though Michele could sense Paola protecting her emotions, he started to do what he could to convey how serious he was about her.
He started by sending her flowers, but that didn't seem personal enough. That's when he came up with the idea to write her name on a sheet and hang it at the top of his building for all to see.
He Reminded Paola Of Her Grandfather
As sweet as Michele's gestures were, there was one thing that stood out above the rest when it came to Paola discovering he was the one. The more she got to know him, the more he started reminding her of her grandfather.
Yet another miraculous twist of fate is that Paola's grandfather is also named Michele! Though her grandfather has since passed, she recognized his "goodness of mind" and "principles" in Michele.
Finally Getting To Meet In Person
After two and a half months of dating at a distance, Italy relaxed its social distancing rules to the extent that Michele and Paola could meet in person. Even though they knew one another well, they were still nervous.
On the plus side, Paula's sister and their balcony interactions at least alleviated the worry of being "catfished." They knew they weren't lying about who they actually are, but there is still something to be said about in-person chemistry versus virtual chemistry.
He Was Just Like She'd Imagined
Michele and Paola had yet another magical moment when they met in a garden near their homes for the first time. Paola said, "We were both nervous but it went really well — he was just like I imagined he would be."
She added that it was an event they will never forget, and the start of their daily lives together. The pair has been inseparable since, and many who hear their story find them to be a bright spot in a gloomy year.
He Reprised Her "Paola" Sign With Chalk
On one of their dates, Michele again put Paola's name in a public space to profess his love shamelessly. This time instead of a sheet, he wrote her name with chalk on the ground and put a big heart above.
Paola loved it so much that she took a selfie with the artwork and posted it to her Instagram page. Her more than 2,000 followers love staying up-to-date with her and Michele's relationship, especially now that it's blossomed in-person.
She Returned The Favor
Paola proved that the feeling is mutual when she wrote Michele's nickname, Miky, in massive letters with chalk. She drew a heart as well, on this name placed it under his name.
The artwork covers a large walkway so passersby can't miss it. Since their story has become the talk of the town, we're sure neighbors must love to see signs that the real-life Romeo and Juliet were here. Their heartwarming story is just what many of us needed.
They Celebrated Her Birthday Together
One of the best things about being a couple is having someone to share special moments with. This year was the first where Michele got to be a part of Paola's birthday. They celebrated with a fruit cake and Paola's mom.
The couple also planned at outdoor event at a restaurant, giving Michele the chance to meet some of Paula's friends. She's quite the social butterfly, so see him around her loved ones further bonded the new couple.
Their Loved Ones Approve
We already mentioned that Michele has gotten to meet Paula's friends and family, but the same is true vise versa. By July, just two months after meeting in person, Paula and Michele had met all of one another's closest loved ones.
Based on the pictures Paula has shared on social media and their responses, we can deduce that all loved ones approve of the couple. They've only added to one another's support system, which further proves that they're great for one another.
They Have Fun Together
Ever since May, many of Italy's businesses have reopened. According to Condé Nast Traveler, Italy completely reopened internally on June 3, 2020. That means that Michele and Paola were able to expand their date range just in time for summer.
You can tell from their photos that the pair has a ton of fun together. Here they are striking a cute pose on a pirate ship at a water park. You know you've found the one when you can play like kids together!
The couple loves spending time in the water, especially during the warm months of summer. They often take pictures together on boats, doing water sports like paddleboarding, or just relaxing on floats.
Many songs are about that summertime love. Michele and Paola's relationship is not only like a movie, but also like a song. Although many of those lyrics are about pairs that break up in the fall. So far, it looks like this love in going to be a lasting one.
Plans To Get Married!
Speaking of a lasting love, Paola and Michele already have plans to get married! Though they want to take it slow, this post on Paola's Facebook made it pretty clear that their plans are set in stone.
She did say in an interview, "Marriage is an important thing and you must never rush it." At the same time, Michele has already told Paola that he wants to marry her, so it really just comes down to semantics.
News Outlets Swarmed To The "Real-Life Romeo And Juliet"
As soon as Michele hung up that sheet that read "Paola" from the top of his building, local news stations started taking notice of their relationship. Ever since, major outlets like The Washington Post and Yahoo! have been following their story closely.
The popularity has to do with how strikingly similar their story is to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Both saw one another from afar, in Verona, and fell madly in love. Plus, the balcony detail is very old-timey romantic. Fortunately, this tale has a happy ending.
A Gift From Her Late Grandfather
One major difference between Michele and Paola's story and Romeo and Juliet is that their families are far from being in a feud. On the contrary, Paola sees Michele as being sent to her from her late grandfather.
She said in an interview, "Many times, I think that it was he who sent me Michele, with the same name, the same kindness, the same sympathy and intelligence." When the couple does tie the knot, they hope to do it on a-- you guessed it-- balcony.