Montevideo Stories and Tips

Buildings

Teatro Solis Photo, Montevideo, Uruguay

While still in the area of the old city it is worthwhile seeing the Bank of the Republic building with its great columns and impressive interiors. As this is a working bank photographs are not allowed inside. You will have more luck at the National History Museum - Casa Rivera, Casa Garibaldi, Casa Lavalleja.

Spread among four different historic houses, this national history museum provides guests a glimpse into the country's past. Most of the restored homes once served as residences to some of Uruguay's famous military leaders and politicians. The Museo Romantic contains paintings and antiques. The Casa Rivera, topped by a distinctive octagonal cupola, was home to the country's first president, and the Casa Garibaldi was the residence of a famous navy commander in the mid 1800s. The Casa Lavalleja, circa 1700s and former home of military genius General Juan Lavalleja, also makes for an interesting visit.

Giuseppe Garibaldi, the great Italian nationalist, stayed at the Casa Garibaldi in the 1840s. It was at this time he adopted his trademark clothing, the red shirt, poncho, and sombrero used by the gauchos. In 1842 Montevideo was besieged by an Argentine army and Garibaldi took command of the Uruguayan fleet and raised an Italian Legion. In 1846 he was victorious in the Battle of San Antonio, which won him a worldwide reputation as a guerrilla leader. Garibaldi returned to his homeland during the revolution of 1848 and eventually achieved the creation of an Italian state in 1860.

The other significant buildings are outside the old city.
Palacio Legislativo
Constructed by Italian architect Gaetano Moretti between 1908 and 1925, this grand neo-classical structure is a ‘must visit’ while in the city. Located downtown near the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Palacio Legislativo is a government building that showcases outstanding architecture and contains notable artwork throughout. The building has four architecturally breathtaking facades oriented towards the four cardinal points, each decorated with bronze sculptures in turn representing Law, Justice, Science and Labour. It is particularly attractive when floodlight at night. The interior is just as attractive, housing some significant works of art. The military performs daily flag ceremonies at the front entrance, and guided tours are available in both Spanish and English. Tours leave from the back entrance on Ave General Flores.


Palacio Salvo
Palacio Salvo was constructed in 1928 in a mixture of styles with influences of Italian gothic, and was for decades the tallest building in South America. Following the inauguration, it rapidly became a symbol of pride for the people of Montevideo. To this day it can be found on most postcards of the city and country and remains a national icon. It was designed by the architect Mario Palanti, an Italian immigrant living in Buenos Aires, Palacio Salvo stands 100 metres high with the antenna included. The building was originally intended to function as a hotel, possibly mixed with some private residential units. This did not work out, and it never functioned as a hotel. There is now a mixture of offices and private residences in the building.

Teatro Solis Tel: 1950.3323
Teatro Solis was built between 1842 and 1856 and the lateral wing was added in 1869. Solis Theatre is a building for drama, comedy, ballet, opera or concerts. It is the oldest functioning great opera house in the Americas. The inauguration took place in the presence of President Gabriel Antonio Pereira, with a performance of the opera 'Ernani'. It reopened in 2004 after a major renovation. Operas, ballets and plays are still performed here, often by visiting international companies. You can see the lovely interior on a guided tour three times every day except Tuesdays and Fridays. The gift shop and small museum in the basement are open to the public at all times.

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