So we walked in and I suggested we ask some tourists the way. But then, after taking a few more steps, thinking ‘it has to be around here somewhere’, we realised the enormity of our task. The 54,843 square metre perimeter became more apparent. So I marched back to the entrance to purchase (for about £1) a map.
We found her resting place in the end, but it wasn’t easy. This really is an extraordinary cemetery (the first public one in Buenos Aires – opened 1822) by any standards. It’s practically a maze and was like walking through ancient Rome for all the monuments and pillars. But be prepared to be blown away by the detail and size of some of the tombstones.
Peron’s grave was relatively modest, but, unsurprisingly, there are always crowds of people by it. She was a remarkable woman and only 33 when she died in 1952 from cancer (she was the first Argentine to receive chemotherapy). She received a state funeral. The country came to a virtual standstill.
Before we visited her shrine, though, we’d located another person of interest, former boxer Luis Firpo. He is one of only two prominent sportsmen buried here. His burial spot is marked by a large statue of him.
Firpo, nicknamed “Wild Bull of The Pampas”, fought Jack Dempsey for the world heavyweight championship in New York in 1923. The contest, won by Dempsey in two rounds, went down in history as one of the wildest. Dempsey knocked down Firpo seven times before himself being knocked out of the ring. Dempsey hauled himself back into the ring before knocking out the Argentine. But Firpo received instant fame for his heroics.
If you are ever in Buenos Aires and, more specifically, Recoleta, make a trip here a priority. Take your children also. Zenchai really enjoyed it. Entrance is free. It is open from 7am-6pm every day.