Palacio Barolo Tour: Unveil Buenos Aires Hidden Secrets

Palacio Barolo

Palacio Barolo is my number one attraction in Buenos Aires. Why is it so special? What is its connection with Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy? Can you visit it by yourself or is it better to take a Palacio Barolo tour? When is best time to visit? Keep reading to know the answers.

The foyer, representing Hell
The Hell or the foyer of the building

What makes it so special?

The Italian architect Palanti built Palacio Barolo for the businessman Barolo. Inaugurated in 1923, it was the tallest building in South America for eight years when Kavanagh building was built in Buenos Aires too. Palanti wanted to welcome with light foreigners arriving by boat from the Atlantic to the mouth of the Río de la Plata river. So he built a mirror building called Palacio Salvo across Rio de la Plata river in Montevideo Uruguay. Both buildings have sturdy domes which support huge lighthouses which were able to send messages by colored lights. Palacio Barolo’s architectural style is a mixture of neo-romanticism and neo-gothic.

Palacio Barolo and Divine Comedy

Both Palanti and Barolo were passionate admirers of Dante Alighieri thus Palacio Barolo itself is a reference to Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. The palace is divided into three parts corresponding to Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Among the mixture of architectural styles, the dome is inspired by a Hindu temple dedicated to love. It represents the union of Dante and Beatrice, the protagonists of the Divine Comedy. The building is 100 meters high and has 22 floors as much as Dante’s Divine Comedy’s 100 cantos and 22 verses.

View from Purgatory to Hell
View from Purgatory to Hell

The top of the building is a rotating lighthouse with a huge rotating lantern. It represents the Heaven. Above the lighthouse, the constellation of the Southern Cross aligns with the axes of Palacio Barolo at 19:45 at the beginning of June.

Palacio Barolo Lighthouse

It lights up every night at 10 PM sharp for 20 minutes. While walking the streets of Buenos Aires at night look up a few minutes past 10 PM and you will see the light.

Lift at Palacio Barolo
One of the lifts in the building

Palacio Barolo tour – is it worth it

Palacio Barolo is an office building so you can’t roam through the floors freely. And though the foyer is impressing and with free access, you most probably won’t want to stay in Hell only. That’s why I strongly advise you to take the Palacio Barolo guided tour. You can join a tour all year round every day of the week, except Tuesday and Sunday.

Tour times vary on different days of the week, so check the times and buy your ticket at the ticket office in the foyer. When I visited i March 2020 The Palacio Barolo tour price was ARS 7000. The tour duration is hour and a half. I took the tour and can’t recommend it enough. The guide was knowledgeable and showed us important interior details.

Staircase at Palacio Barolo

She told us stories and facts I didn’t find anywhere else. And I read quite a lot before going there. With the tour you’ll have the chance to see the tour company office with some antiques from the building in it. We climbed to the top and had the privilege to admire the most spectacular view from the lighthouse. We also enjoyed the sunset from one of the balconies.

Palacio Barolo rooftop terrace

Important notice: the Palacio Barolo tour is not suitable for people with reduced mobility as you’ll have to climb several floors by stairs.

Buenos Aires sunset rooftop view from a Palacio Barolo balcony
Buenos Aires rooftop view from a Palacio Barolo balcony

My first-hand experience tips for you:

  1. If you want to see the spectacular sunset from the picture above, book the Palacio Barolo tour one hour before sunset time. Check sunset time for the day of your visit or just ask for the sunset tour at the ticket office when buying your ticket.
  2. Check out the rooftop bar Salon 1923. This is the place to have the best view if you are not into taking the Palacio Barolo tour. Reservation is a must.

Where is Palacio Barolo Buenos Aires

Palacio Barolo address: Avenida de Mayo 1370

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