(CNN)A couple in Italy who met on their balconies during the coronavirus lockdown are now engaged, becoming a modern-day Romeo and Juliet in the same city where Shakespeare's story of star-crossed lovers took place.
An Italian couple who met on their balconies during quarantine are now engaged in the same city where 'Romeo and Juliet' was set
It was love at first sight for Michele D'Alpaos, 38, who remembers the exact moment he laid eyes on Paola Agnelli, 40, as she walked across the terrace of her apartment in Verona.
"It was the afternoon of March 17, when I was forced to work from home because of the lockdown," D'Alpaos told CNN. "I saw this beautiful girl, Paola. I was immediately struck by the beauty of this girl, by her smile. I had to know her."
The pair had lived in buildings across from each other almost their entire lives, but were never aware of each other's existence. But that afternoon, while her sister played the violin on their balcony as she did every evening to cheer up the quarantined neighborhood, Agnelli caught D'Alpaos' gaze.
"I immediately thought, 'What a beautiful boy'," Agnelli told CNN. "I believe he was sent to me from heaven."
While the two were strangers up until that moment, fate still found a way to bring them together.
Agnelli happened to know D'Alpaos' sister because they use to visit the same gym and followed each other on Instagram. Moments after discovering this, D'Alpaos quickly created his own Instagram profile just to reach out to Agnelli.
"One message after another, we ended up chatting until late at night," D'Alpaos said. "By then I was just waiting to wake up in the morning to be able to talk to her again. We had so many things in common, from food to politics, she was very nice, she always laughed at my jokes, even the most stupid ones."
Close enough to smile at each other from their balconies but too far to embrace, the two spent their days and nights talking, laughing, and learning about each other until they said it felt like they'd known each other forever.