Recoleta Cemetery – Stories of Notable Sites

Some legend, some true. Some humorous, some sad. All intriguing.

Grudge for Eternity – Salvador & Tiburcia Carril

  • Salvador was a prominent figurehead in Argentinian politics.
  • Met his wife, Tiburcia, 25 years his junior, in Uruguay.
  • Moved to BA where Tiburcia spent lavishly, opening lines of credit in any ‘haute couture’ shop she could.
  • Outraged by his wife’s spending, Salvador published letters in several major newspapers stating from that day on, he would not be responsible for Tiburcia’s debts and any credit extended would not be honored.
  • Tiburcia, humiliated and infuriated by this ‘social suicide’, retaliated, publishing her own letters describing what a horrible man her husband was and vowed never speak to him again.
  • They stayed together but Tiburcia kept her promise, not speaking to Salvador the last 20yrs of his life.
  • 15yrs later, Tiburcia died. But before her death, Tiburcia requested her bust face the opposite direction of Salvador, not wanting to have to look at him for all eternity.
Opulent Mausoleum of Salvador and Tiburcia Carril
Salvador and Tiburcia have their backs to each other
Salvador and Tiburcia have their backs to each other

The Girl Who Died Twice – Rufina Canbaceres

  • Born into wealthy, upper class family.
  • Appeared to have it all – kindness as renowned as her beauty, engaged to love of her life, approaching 19th birthday which would serve as her official “introduction to society”.
  • While getting ready for her 19th bday celebration, Rufina’s best friend revealed Rufina’s mother was having an affair with her fiancé!
  • Devastated and shocked, Rufina fainted.
  • 3 doctors couldn’t find signs of breath and Rufina was pronounced dead.
  • Wanting to avoid scandal, her mother organized a quick funeral.
  • Days later a groundskeeper heard noises coming from her mausoleum and assumed it was burglars.
  • When further investigated, the lid of Rufina’s casket had moved and there were scratches on the inside of the coffin and on her face and neck.
  • She was buried alive after suffering catalepsy.
  • A statue of Rufina stands at the door of the mausoleum – does it look like she is trying to open or close the door?
  • Rufina wandering the cemetery have been reported after closing.
Rufina, entering or leaving?

Honeymoon Disaster – Liliana Crociati de Szaszak

  • One of the newest mausoleums, having died in 1970 at the age of 26.
  • Liliana was on her honeymoon in Innsbruck, Austria when an avalanche struck her hotel, killing both her and her husband.
  • Her dog, whom she was very attached, died in Buenos Aires the same day.
  • Touching the dog’s nose supposed to be good luck, hence why so shiny.
  • Life size statue of Liliana in her wedding dress, complete with wedding ring.
  • Mausoleum interior designed to look like her childhood bedroom, including big windows for sunlight.
Liliana in her wedding dress, loyal dog by side

‘Dying’ to get in – David Alleno

  • Worked as a cartaker at the cemetery. Loved his job to say the least.
  • Spent life savings to have an Italian sculptor design his mausoleum.
  • When sculpture was completed, David went home that night and committed suicide.
  • Sculpture depicts David working, complete with a broom, watering can, and keys.
  • Legend has it you can still hear jingling of his keys from time to time.
David Alleno – caretaker excited about being buried in Recoleta, killed himself

Young Men Beware – Luz Maria Garcia Velloso

  • Luz Maria died from yellow fever at age of 15.
  • She might be ghost! A young man met a young girl wearing a nice dress at the corner of Vicente López and Azcuénaga (where cemetery is located) and went on a date.
  • She felt cold so he gave her his jacket.
  • She spilled coffee on it, asked he come by her house tomorrow to pick it up after she cleaned it.
  • Abruptly, she got up and left and the man saw her enter the cemetery.
  • The next day he went to the address she gave him and met her mother. She informed him the girl he is looking for passed away many years ago and buried in Recoleta cemetery.
  • He goes to the cemetery and what does he find…his stained jacket draped over her crypt.
  • To this day guys avoid picking up girls on that street corner.
  • The space between the casket and fence is where her mom slept for 3months because devastated by her death.
Jacket found on crypt
Space where her mother slept to be next to her daughter

Curse of the 3 Best Friends – Adolfo Miter, Alberto Viola, & Benigno Lugones

  • 3 young men decided to celebrate their friendship by building a monument to themselves.
  • Rejected by the municipality to build such an imposing pantheon in a key point of the city, they got the brilliant idea of buying a small plot in the emblematic cemetery instead.
  • The obelisk crowned with an angel, each friend depicted on each side.
  • Finished in 1930, the 3 men had an elaborate party to celebrate and was the talk of the town for weeks.
  • However, within 9 months of the celebration, all 3 men died in separate events/circumstances.
  • Their remains are buried elsewhere, but the monument remains a cenotaph to their friendship.
Cenotaph of The Three Friends

Short Column – Noting someone died young

Half column, like the one below, typically means the person died young, between 25-30 years of age.

Half column depicting someone died young

Freemason Architecture

Many freemason members are buried in Recoleta. The tomb below was so blatant that the cemetery imposed restrictions on how they could be designed. Many masonic symbols are sprinkled through the cemetery, but have to look for them.

Masonic Symbol initiating cemetery imposed limit on design

Evita – 20 year journey for a final resting place

To be discussed in a separate Evita post.

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