Buenos Aires is a must-see on your MSC South America cruise to Argentina. Its heart is the spacious, palm-dotted Plaza de Mayo, the ideal place to begin a tour of the area and explore its historical and political connections; its mismatched medley of buildings includes the famous Casa Rosada, or government house.
An amble westwards from the plaza will take you along Avenida de Mayo, the city’s major boulevard, offering an impressive display of Art Nouveau and Art Deco
architecture. At its western end, Avenida de Mayo opens onto the Plaza del Congreso, presided over by the Congreso Nacional building, the seat of the federal parliament.
Casa Rosada, a typically Argentine blend of French and Italian Renaissance styles, stands on the site of the city’s Spanish fort, begun in 1594 and converted in 1776 to the viceroy’s palace. In 1862, President Bartolomé Mitre moved the government ministries to the building, remodelling it once again.
The final touch was added in 1885, when the central arch was added, unifying the facade. Behind the Casa Rosada, the Plaza Colón features a gigantic Argentine flag and a Carrara marble statue of Christopher Columbus, looking out to the river and towards the Old World.
MSC South America cruises also offer excursions to the north of Buenos Aires, where the four residential barrios of most interest to visitors – Retiro, Recoleta, Palermo and Belgrano – each retain a distinctive character. Nearest to the centre, Retiro and Recoleta – known jointly as Barrio Norte – have chic streets lined with boutiques, art galleries and smart cafés. Recoleta is associated primarily with its magnificent cemetery where, among other national celebrities, Evita is buried.
Both barrios also share an extraordinary concentration of French-style palaces, tangible proof of the obsession of the city’s elite at the beginning of the twentieth century with established European cities