Caminito is surely one of the most popular and instagrammable spots in the city. And for good reason! This colorful vibrant neighborhood is definitely an eye-catcher for visitors. Caminito, however, has not always been what it is today, and the best way to discover its true essence has a face and a name. Namely, Benito Quinquela Martín, better known as the “Painter of La Boca” (the artist’s self-proclaimed title).
Born in 1890, he spent his early childhood in an orphanage before he was adopted. Later in his life, his job and his first-hand experience with the dynamics of the port drove him to give color to his dear barrio. A great admirer of La Boca, Quinquela Martín managed to see its wealth and the value and lifestyle of the dwellers to eventually portray them in his paintings.
Though he found himself surrounded by major artists, his heart was always with his barrio, and his greatest works tell a story about this place. It is worth mentioning that it was Quinquela Martín who guided various artists in the painting of the conventillos (tenement houses), stalls and stores on the currently known as Caminito alley.
Benito Quinquela Martín’s work is witnessed in every corner of La Boca, and visiting his museum is one of the most recommended plans while in the area. Here, visitors will be able not only to see some of the artist´s belongings and his works, but also to delve deeper into his legacy and to enjoy the works of other major Argentine artists as well as the unique view of La Boca from the rooftop.
Painting gives way to music with one of the most remembered and emblematic singers of all times in this continent, namely Carlos Gardel. The legendary singer and song-writer is not only synonymous with tango, elegance and films; his great passion for horses and horse races also link him closely with a one of the most renowned sports venue in the city, that is, the Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo.
Lunático, his dearest horse, accomplished its first triumph on June 12, 1925. But it was not only the heroic races of this stud that motivated Gardel’s connection with this racetrack. “Por una cabeza”, one of his most iconic songs, was inspired in this setting. Nowadays, the murals of the artist in the surrounding area, further prove such relation.
Besides that, the Hipódromo de Palermo is ideal for those who seek to learn more about the local culture and, while at it, enjoy the races and/or the fairs held in its premises, along with its restaurants and beer houses, all within a unique space.
Carlos Gardel mural next to the Hippodrome
Borges and Cortazar
If we said that there are other ways to connect with these two colossal artists, would you believe it? While touring Buenos Aires, visitors will be in one of the cities with the highest number of libraries in the world and get the chance to know the places that these exceptional writers used to visit.
Many cafes in Buenos Aires, besides being ideal venues for those who look to relax while reading a book, bring to mind these representatives of Argentine literature. Statues of Borges and Bioy Casares sitting at a table in the picturesque café La Biela, in La Recoleta, or Cortázar´s portraits in the emblematic London City- the artist´s favorite- in the heart of downtown, offer the beholder a second-to-none experience.
Borges statue in La Biela
Moving on to contemporary artists of great international prestige, we would like to mention actor Ricardo Darín, who starred in “El Secreto de sus Ojos”, a film that won an Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film in 2010. His artistic career – loaded with awards and recognitions – is well worth delving into. However, in this post, Ricardo Darín will be the starting point leading to a tour of one of the other very special highlights in the city: Corrientes Avenue.
This famous street is home to most of the best theaters in the city. Those who wish to live a true “porteño” night are encouraged to see a play and go for some fabulous pizza afterwards in one of the several iconic pizza houses on the avenue. Such a unique combination makes it possible for visitors to get to know Buenos Aires from a different perspective.
“La Ciudad de la Furia” (or The City of Fury), which is said to refer to the city of Buenos Aires, is the name of one of the most famous songs written and sung by Soda Stereo’s lead vocalist and guitarist Gustavo Cerati. Today, it is still the city’s most popular nickname.
The late musician, one of the most loved artists and an ambassador to our national rock music in the rest of the continent, will always be present in a friend’s gathering, a bar or any other corner of the city.
His grave is in the Chacarita Cemetery. And though the Recoleta Cemetery is much more popular with tourists, this and many other reasons make the former an attractive place to stop by.