Polyvalent and cosmopolitan, Buenos Aires and its inhabitants, the porteños, are known for a multitude of traditions and symbolic references
but whether it’s tango, gauchos, and football, or beef, mate tea, and dulce de leche, it’s indisputably Argentine. The home of Nobel Prize winners and legendary sportsmen, musicians and writers, Buenos Aires is justifiably proud of its citizens, from Diego Maradona, Carlos Gardel, Evita, Julio Bocca, Jorge Luis Borges, and Julio Cortázar, to Mercedes Sosa, Raúl Soldi and Bernardo Houssay, to name but a few.
From its earliest days, the port city was a magnet for people from all walks of life and races, a melting-pot of cultures and traditions that grew with the waves of migrants primarily from Italy, France and Spain in the first half of the 20th century. Buenos Aires was known as the “Paris of the South” for its belle époque palaces and broad avenues, landscaped parks and elegant squares, each district telling its own story according to the ethnic origins and idiosyncrasies of its founders.
One of the main attractions of the La Boca district is the quaint huddle of multicolored houses built by the Italian immigrants in the early years of the 20th century, with its taverns and tenement blocks, its bars and canteens offering authentic Italian fare. Caminito street is the most popular area, famous for its tango dancers and memorabilia.
In the heart of San Telmo, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, lies the cobblestoned Plaza Dorrego, surrounded by grand street houses belonging to the aristocracy of yesteryear and today the site of a bustling antiques market held on Sundays.
Another emblematic neighborhood is the Abasto, once the location of the city’s central fruit and vegetable market. Built in the late 19th century, this cavernous building was abandoned in the 1980s and subsequently transformed into a luxury shopping mall. Just a couple of blocks away stands the former home of legendary tango composer and singer Carlos Gardel, now a museum dedicated to his life and work.