10.1 Argentina : When Book Lovers Go On Vacation

I read about this building in one of my travel books and even though it is described as "no more than an ornate concrete building that now houses offices" Eli and I absolutely had to see it!

The Palacio Barolo was designed by Mario Palanti, an Italian architect who was part of a sacred order which revered Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy. Like most of the expatriates living in Argentina at the time, Palanti believed that Europe would be destroyed by war. In 1919 he constructed a building to safely house Alighieri's ashes when that happened (a plan that unfortunately never came to fruition).
  • It is 100 meters tall to represent the 100 cantos of the poem
  • Each floor has 11 or 22 offices because each of the poems cantos have 11 or 22 lines.
  • The ceiling in the entrance is vaulted in 9 separate domes, 1 for each of the circles of hell in The Inferno
  • The ground floor begins as hell and is decorated by iron dragon light fixtures and floor tiles that look like flames. As you progress up the building you go through purgatory and heaven - where the view is the best.
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They weren't giving tours the day we went, but luckily we managed to sneak past the security guard and give ourselves our very own tour ... complete with walking up 14 flights of circular stairs; a punishment fitting of purgatory.


  1. Looking down those steps in amazing yet completely terrifying!

  2. you'd be sad too if you had to climb 14 flights of stairs!


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