The Palacio Barolo – Inspired by Dante

One of the best panoramic views in Buenos Aires is from the lighthouse at the top of the Palacio Barolo, on Avenida de Mayo. But as impressive as the view over the Plaza del Congreso and the city might be, expect to be even more amazed by the building itself.

When the Palacio Barolo was completed in 1923, it was the tallest building in South America, with a crowning lighthouse that could be seen from Montevideo, Uruguay. The Italian architect, Mario Palanti, was commissioned to build the palace by an Italian immigrant, Luis Barolo, who had become rich in the fabrics trade. Palanti was a huge fan of Dante, and designed his building to pay tribute to the great author’s Divine Comedy.

The building is precisely 100 meters tall, one meter for each canto in the epic poem. Following Dante’s footsteps, a visitor to Palacio Barolo begins his journey in Hell (the basement and ground floor), moves on through Purgatory (floors 1-14) and ends in Heaven (floors 15-22). The 22 floors equal the number of stanzas of the poem’s verses. Each floor is split into 22 offices. And as in the Divine Comedy, the number nine is repeated throughout the building’s plan. Nine entries to the building represent the nine hierarchies of hell, while nine arches in the central hall stand for hell’s nine circles.

This kind of thing is like crack for me. The palace was inaugurated on Dante’s birthday, and Latin inscriptions throughout the building pay further tribute to the poet. The crowning cupola, inspired by a Hindu temple in India, symbolizes Dante’s union with Beatrice, his perfect woman.

You can join a guided tour, during the afternoon or evening, when the city lights are on. It’s an incredible way to see Buenos Aires from above, and also learn about one of the city’s most unique and amazing buildings.

Palacio Barolo

Avenida de Mayo 1370

Location on our Buenos Aires Map

Rough Guide Buenos Aires

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Amer

    wow..such amazing architectural photos! love it!

  2. Fernando Carral

    Excelente nota y muy buenas fotos!!!!Que se conozca en el exterior

  3. springbyker

    These are spectacular photos of one of my favorite buildings in Buenos Aires!

  4. robert

    great photos.  it is an interesting building.  Robert from Newcastle Australia

  5. Rogerpenna

    It´s actually just a myth that you can see the lighthouse from Montevideo.The two cities are 200km apart.from 100 meters high (let’s say, the top of it´s counterpart in Montevideo, Palacio Salvo), Palacio Barolo would need to be 2000 meters high in order for it´s top to be seen from the top of Palacio Salvo.from street level, Palacio Barolo would need to be at least 1900 meters tall for it to be seen from´s possible however that it can be seen from an AIRPLANE flying over Montevideo. Flying about 2km high over Montevideo would allow one to see the top of Palacio Barolo.

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