Hundreds of years ago, in the beautiful town of Florence, there once lived a brilliant musician. His name was Francesco and though penniless he filled the streets and piazzas with the richest music of the age.
Every day he would play his lute outside the house of the greatest family in Florence and Julieta, the maid who swept the steps of the great house, would pause each day to hear him play. As time went by, she was charmed by the beauty of his music and the winks and the jokes and the smiles that would punctuate his songs.
‘But alas,’ she thought, ‘he is but a poor musician, and I a member of the finest household in Florence’.
One day, Francesco vanished, and though she was sad for a time, Julieta tried to clear his memory from her mind, as people sometimes do when loss cannot be remedied.
Three years later, Julieta was at the market when she overheard the news that Francesco had returned. A group of excited ladies of the town were in discussion of a wondrous musician named Francesco, whose wealth and fame had reached their home. His concerts filled the rafters, his music melted hearts, and women would fight each other to stand the closest to the stage.
Her heart leapt inside her chest as she listened, but Julieta could not help but feel sadness at the same time.
‘How could such an ordinary girl compare with so many dazzling others?’
But Julieta steeled her mind and she conjured a plan that would beat the competition.
A few days later there would be a masked carnival and Francesco was to play a concert there. When her work as a maid was over, she sneaked into her lady’s bedchambers, put on the finest dress, grabbed her mistress’s mask and slipped away into the night.
Avoiding the pushing and shoving at the front of the stage, Julieta let her outfit do the talking. With a dress so dazzling, and though she was far from the stage, Francesco could barely keep his eyes and mind on the music he was there to play.
When the concert had finished, she caught his eye and smiling disappeared into the crowd. Francesco followed and the two soon slipped away to the house across the street from where he once played music every day.
In the morning Julieta awoke in Francesco’s arms and she listened as he opened his heart to her. He told her of his years of struggle in Florence. About how he, a poor musician, left in shame because he felt unworthy of a woman he once knew there. He resolved to only return when he had made a name and a fortune for himself.
Julieta’s heart sang and she was ready to burst with happiness.
“The strangest thing,” Francesco mused, starting wistfully out of the window “is that the very same place where I played, met her and fell in love…was only a few streets away.”