Combining Heaven, Hell, world famous literature, a little wine and a gorgeous view is the Palacio Barolo tour in Buenos Aires. Scott and I recently went to check out what easily became one of our favorite city experiences since we moved to BA. The Palacio Barolo construction was completed in 1923. It stands at 100 meters tall, which made it the tallest building in Latin America at the time of its completion. The design was inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy. It’s divided into three sections, Hell, Purgatory, then Paradise. The 100 meter height represents the 100 cantos in Dante’s work, the 22 floors equal the number of stanzas.
The fun part, however was walking through the levels with our guide, Tomás, as he pointed out the details that really made the beautiful, but seemingly normal building come to life, such as the decorative molding details that would change into demon faces depending on your vantage point. As we ascended up through beautiful old elevators and spiral staircases, we were finally treated to what I would argue as the best view in Buenos Aires. Small balconies circle the tower, giving you an uninterrupted view in every direction. To add to the drama, a violinist enters to lend a beautiful soundtrack to the moment. It’s quite the experience.
But we’re not finished with our ascent yet! The final climb up some tiny spiral stairs brings you to the lighthouse itself. The tiny little glass walled space provided just enough room for our small group of 8 to circle the powerful spotlight as Tomás spun it around, highlighting buildings around the city.
On our way back down, after enjoying some star gazing on a large terrace, we were taken back to one of the offices in the building, lingering in the Purgatory region. Originally Tomás’ grandfather’s office, he and his brother decided to now use it as a reception room of sorts after the tours they run throughout the week. Here, you’re invited to enjoy a delicious glass of wine, some nibbles and more beautiful music. The room is styled in the same period in which his grandfather worked. It’s a nice spot to ask questions, look over old relics and take some fun pictures.
The building is definitely a unique treasure in Buenos Aires with an incredible view and having a knowledgeable guide really brings the place to life, but what I think we really enjoyed the most were the special touches. The violin music, wine, first hand knowledge of the building and trip up to the the lighthouse itself was what really made this tour special. It’s definitely worth checking out on your trip to Buenos Aires.
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