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Various examples of balconies

A balcony (from Italian : balcone, "scaffold" [lower-alpha 1] ) is a platform projecting from the wall of a building, supported by columns or console brackets, and enclosed with a balustrade, usually above the ground floor.



The traditional Maltese balcony is a wooden closed balcony projecting from a wall.

By contrast, a Juliet balcony does not protrude out of the building. It is usually part of an upper floor, with a balustrade only at the front, like a small loggia. Modern Juliet balconies often involve a metal barrier placed in front of a high window which can be opened. In the UK, the technical name of these was officially changed in August 2020 to a Juliet Guarding.

Juliet balconies are named after Shakespeare's Juliet, who, in traditional stagings of the play Romeo and Juliet , is courted by Romeo while she is on her balcony—though the play itself, as written, makes no mention of a balcony, but only of a window at which Juliet appears. Various types of balcony have been used in depicting this famous scene; however the 'balcony of Juliet' at Villa Capuleti in Verona is not a 'Juliet balcony', as it does indeed protrude from the wall of the villa (see photograph below). The Julian Balcony [2] is a slightly larger version of the well-known Juliet Balcony, protruding slightly from the wall, unlike the smaller Juliet balcony, and spanning at least two windows rather than one.


Sometimes balconies are adapted for ceremonial purposes, e.g. that of St. Peter's Basilica at Rome, when the newly elected pope gives his blessing urbi et orbi after the conclave. Inside churches, balconies are sometimes provided for the singers, and in banqueting halls and the like for the musicians.

A unit with a regular balcony will have doors that open up onto a small patio with railings, a small Patio garden or Skyrise greenery. A French balcony is actually a false balcony, with doors that open to a railing with a view of the courtyard or the surrounding scenery below.

In theatres, the balcony was formerly a stage-box, but the name is now usually confined to the part of the auditorium above the dress circle and below the gallery.

Balconies are part of the sculptural shape of the building allowing for irregular facades without the cost of irregular internal structures. [3]

Notable balconies

One of the most famous uses of a balcony is in traditional stagings of the scene that has come to be known as the "balcony scene" in William Shakespeare's tragedy, Romeo and Juliet (though the scene makes no mention of a balcony, only of a window at which Juliet appears).

Balcony names

Manufacturers' names for their balcony railing designs often refer to the origin of the design, e.g. Italian balcony, Spanish balcony, Mexican balcony, Ecuadorian balcony. They also refer to the shape and form of the pickets used for the balcony railings, e.g. knuckle balcony. Within the construction industry it is normal for balconies to be named descriptively. For example slide-on cassette balconies referring to the modern method used to install aluminium balconies or cast-insitu balconies relating to concrete balconies poured on a construction site.

See also


  1. cf. Old High German balcho, beam, balketta; probably cognate with Persian term بالكانهbālkāneh or its older variant پالكانهpālkāneh. [1]

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Juliet character in Romeo and Juliet

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This is an alphabetical index of articles related to architecture.


  1. Dehkhoda Persian Dictionary
  2. "Julian's balcony scene deserves only catcalls" . 20 August 2012.
  3. Lorinc, John (16 August 2017). "The rise of the balcony". The Globe and Mail . Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  4. Asociación de Funcionarios del Servicio Diplomático del Perú. "UNA VISITA AL PALACIO DE TORRE TAGLE, CASA DE LA DIPLOMACIA PERUANA" (in Spanish).

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