USA

Italian couple weds after meeting on balconies during COVID-19 lockdown

Meet the “Romeo and Juliet” of the pandemic.

A couple met on neighboring balconies during the coronavirus lockdown in Verona, Italy — where the tale of star-crossed lovers is set — and now they’re engaged to be married.

Michele D’Alpaos, 38, said it was love at first sight when he spotted Paola Agnelli, 40, performing a violin rendition of the Queen tune “We Are The Champions” to lift neighbors’ spirits on her sixth-floor terrace in mid-March, the Washington Post reported.

“I was immediately struck by the beauty of this girl, by her smile,” said D’Alpaos, who works with computers. “I had to know her.”

Despite living next to each other for years, they had never met — but he caught her eye, too.

“I immediately thought, ‘What a beautiful boy,’ said Agnelli, who is a lawyer. “It was a magical moment.”

But being apart was such sweet sorrow until D’Alpaos learned that his sister knew Agnelli from the gym, and he began following her on Instagram.

Bound by quarantine rules, as the virus ripped through the country, he began a 21st-century courtship via social media. One night, the lovebirds stayed up until  3 a.m., having a heart-to-heart.

Their cross-balcony flirtation soon blossomed into a full-on relationship and they longed to meet for an in-person date. But instead of rival families keeping their romance at bay, it was a virus, which confined them to their homes for months.

Even while stuck at home,  D’Alpaos went full “Romeo,” wooing her by sending flowers and hanging a sheet from his balcony that proclaimed “PAOLA.”

In early May, they finally met at a nearby park — at long last — tore off their masks and kissed. Within weeks, they’d met each others’ families and they now plan to tie the knot in “fair Verona,” possibly on D’Alpaos’ balcony.

So in an odd twist of fate, the coronavirus is actually what brought them together.

“We are very much in love,” Agnelli said.

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