Divine Comedy in Buenos Aires

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View of Buenos Aires from Palacio Barolo

When it was completed in 1923 Palacio Barolo was the tallest building in the city, sending a beacon of light that could be seen as far away as Montevideo in Uruguay (the building does in fact have a little sister, Montevideo’s Salvo Palace).

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No longer the tallest building, but there are still some great views from the top

The building itself pays homage to Dante’s Divine Comedy. The Divine Comedy is considered one of the greats of world literature. Written in verse in 1320, it describes Dante’s journey from the depths of hell through purgatory and into paradise.

IMG_5726The Barolo’s ground floor represents hell, floors 1 to 14 represent purgatory and the remaining floors represent heaven or paradise. There are nine entrances to the building, representing the nine depths of hell that Dante identified. The building stands 100 metres high, to represent the number of cantos in Dante’s work. There are 22 floors in total, representing the number of stanzas.

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looking down into hell from purgatory

The building is an eclectic mix of architectural styles.

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The lifts (elevators) only go to the 14th floor and after that you have to climb the stairs. The space gets very narrow as you get to the top.

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The light at the top.  

IMG_5705You can take a tour of the building by day or night. Guides speak English and Spanish and the tour lasted about an hour and cost 170 pesos (about £9 or US$13).

Some of the evening tours are ‘specials’ and so are more expensive and last longer. My original plan had been to take their New Year’s Eve tour, where they take you on a tour of the building, arriving at the top in time for a glass of ‘champagne’ (read: Argentinian sparkling wine) and a bird’s-eye view of the fireworks. However when I called in to enquire I found they needed payment in US dollars, cash (no card and definitely no pesos) and I have now spent all the dollars I brought into the country (I know they say ‘bring all the dollars you need with you’, but whilst that may be good advice for a 2 week holiday it really doesn’t work if your visit, like mine, is open ended).

Never mind, I still got to see the palace, and there will be other places to see the fireworks from.

4 replies »

  1. Happy New Year Sarah! I hope you got to see the fireworks from somewhere. London looked so beautiful last night. I really like the architecture in your photos, especially the picture of the stairwell. Buenos Aires looks a really beautiful city. I may have to put it on my list after all. All best wishes for 2016. Much love xxx

    • yeah I saw some bits on telly from London. I did wander down to the river here but it was quite busy. Low-key NYE; the kind I like really.
      This was a really beautiful building. BA doesn’t really have the tourist attractions or iconic buildings of some other places but it’s a nice city to just spend some time. I’m going to Uruguay tomorrow in search of dollars; I hear they have some there.

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