Buenos Aires: The Evita Trail
By: Anita Draycott
No visit to Buenos Aires (BA) would be complete without an Evita pilgrimage. In real life Eva Duarte Perõn was an actress from the provinces who came to BA and married General Juan Perõn, who became president of Argentina.
The obvious place to start your exploration is in the political and historical centre at the Plaza de Mayo. If you’ve seen the musical, Evita, you will no doubt recognize La Casa Rosada, the pink palace from whose balcony President General Juan Péron and his wife, Eva, stirred the crowds below with their jingoistic speeches. They married and she became a dominating political figure before her untimely death in 1952 from cancer at age 33. The debate about her legacy continues: some remember her as a saint; others view her as a social climber.
The Evita Museum, housed in a mansion in the trendy Palermo district that Eva bought and turned into a shelter for single mothers, portrays the country’s “femme fatale” as a humble, humanitarian heroine. Propaganda or not, it’s worth a visit for the history lesson alone—and a glimpse of her glamorous wardrobe.
The Evita trail will also lead you to Recoleta, BA’s poshest neighbourhood where the remains of the former first lady lie in the Familia Duarte mausoleum. After you’ve paid your respects, drop into the Alvear Palace Hotel where the illustrious guest list includes Antonio Banderas, Robert Duvall and Donatella Versace. Who knows, you might run into Antonio at high tea in the Jardin d’Hiver where the dashing waiters sport red blazers and white gloves.
Strolling Recoleta’s shady boulevards lined with Belle Époque buildings is reminiscent of a wander down Paris’ Champs-Élysées, complete with well-coiffed grandes dames walking their equally well-groomed poodles