Balcony (from Italian balcone, scaffold; cf. High German balcho, beam, balk; probably cognate with Persian term بالكانه bālkāneh or its older variant پالكانه pālkāneh ), a kind of platform projecting from the wall of a building, supported by columns or console brackets, and enclosed with a balustrade. The traditional Maltese balcony is a wooden closed balcony projecting from a wall.
Alternatively, Juliet (named after Shakespeare's Juliet who famously courted Romeo from her balcony) balconies do not protrude out of the building. They are usually part of an upper floor, with a balustrade only at the front, and walls on the sides. Romeo and Juliet was not based on actual people and various types of balcony have be used in depicting the scene; in particular the very popular balcony of Juliet at Villa Capuleti in Verona is not in fact a 'Juliet balcony'.
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. To the contrary, 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.