I really liked the movie Evita with Madonna and Antonio Banderas, the music is just so beautiful. When I had a trip planned to Buenos Aires, I decided to read up a little more about Evita. I was really inspired by her story. Evita is the affectionate name for Eva Peron, who went from a rural town to making it big as an actress. Then, she married Juan Peron and then became the First Lady of Argentina.
During this time, she also ran the Ministries of Labor and Health, helped get women the right to vote, and established the Eva Peron Foundation to help less privileged children. She turned down the nomination to become for Vice President because of her poor health. Unfortunately, she died at the age of 33 from cancer, but it was amazing what she was able to accomplish during her short life. Before she died, she was officially named the “Spiritual Leader of the Nation.”
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Casa Rosada, which translates to Pink House, is the place Evita gave her famous speech. In the movie, she sang “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from the balcony. It is the executive mansion and office of the President. It is located in Plaza de Mayo and really is a beautiful building. There is also a museum in the building that houses objects related to former Presidents. Unfortunately, when we were there, the museum was closed (check the operating hours here).
Speaking of museums, there is actually an Evita Museum. Yes, a whole museum dedicated to Eva Peron. The museum is housed in a building that used to be a shelter for women and children that Evita had established through her foundation. The museum gives you more information about her starting with her difficult family life all the way to her death. There were videos, pictures, and even some of her belongings that really brought her story to life.
Evita is buried at the Cementerio de la Recoleta. Even if she wasn’t buried there, the cemetery is worth a visit just to see the elaborate mausoleums. I incorrectly assumed that Evita’s grave would be the main attraction here. I didn’t realize that many other notable people like former presidents of Argentina, Noble Prize winners, and writers were also buried here (a list of other significant people buried can be found here). We walked around a little bit to see if we could find Evita. This cemetery is huge and it is easy to get lost. So after a little bit of wandering and admiring the mausoleums we had to return back to the entrance to look at the map and find Evita.
Evita’s final resting place is towards the back in the middle of a row, very inconspicuous compared to other mausoleums. Originally, there was going to a huge memorial in her honor, but before the memorial was built, there was a military coup. A military dictatorship took over and the location of her body was a mystery for 16 years. Then it was revealed that she was buried in Milan. In 1971, her body was exhumed and flown to Spain, where Juan Peron was living in exile. After his death, his third wife, Isabel Peron, became President of Argentina and she bought Evita’s body back to Argentina. So she is now buried with her family, under several trap doors for added security.
You could see all three of these sites in the same day, unfortunately none are very close to each other. (see map). It may be best to break it up and see each site when you are exploring each neighborhood.
I love the story of Evita and experiencing these places really brought it to life. It is almost like a fairy tale but with a tragic ending. I think about how much she accomplish in only 33 years, with so many obstacles, and it motivates me to do more. Have you seen Evita? I would love to hear what you thought.
- Watch the movie Evita. It provides good background on her story and the music is beautiful (you can find the soundtrack here).
- Double check opening hours for the museum at Casa Rosada, if you plan on going to it.
- Use the map at the front of the cemetery to locate Evita’s grave since it is not easy to find.
- Learn more about Evita’s story at the Evita Museum.
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