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Visiting the Salvo Palace, Montevideo, Uruguay: Among the Most Significant Landmarks of the Country

Updated on June 22, 2019
Flag of Uruguay
Flag of Uruguay | Source
Salvo Palace, Montevideo, Uruguay
Salvo Palace, Montevideo, Uruguay | Source
View of the Salvo Palace from the corner of 'Avenida de 18 de Julio' and Independence Square
View of the Salvo Palace from the corner of 'Avenida de 18 de Julio' and Independence Square | Source
Giuseppe Palanti - protrait of Mario Palanti, 1924
Giuseppe Palanti - protrait of Mario Palanti, 1924 | Source
Map location of Montevideo, Uruguay
Map location of Montevideo, Uruguay | Source

Formerly South America's tallest building

If you were to ask a visitor to Uruguay which building in the country most readily came to mind as a significant landmark, the chances would be that he or she would suggest the Salvo Palace (Spanish: Palacio Salvo), in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo. Others might suggest also the Legislative Palace, another very striking building in the city, but it is the height and ornate tower design of the Salvo Palace that probably stays in the mind of most visitors to the country above all others.

Its style, and Architect Palanti

This building was the work of architect Mario Palanti (1885-1978); the Salvo Palace was built in 1928. An Italian national, who worked in both Montevideo and Buenos Aires, Architect Palanti was particularly influenced by both Art Nouveau and Renaissance Revival styles. The style of the Salvo Palace is often referred to as eclectic. The Barolo Palace, one of Architect Palanti's noted buildings in Buenos Aires, is stylistically similar to the Salvo Palace and, indeed, dates from the same period.

For a while, a 'CN Tower moment'?

This fine building is in a very central location in the city, at the corner of Avenida 18 de julio and Independence Square (Spanish: Plaza Independencia). Between the years 1928 and 1935, the Salvo Palace was South America's tallest building. (From the perspective of someone writing from Canada, with its own former skyscraper claim to fame, this must have given Uruguayans what might be called their 'CN Tower moment'!)

In any case, the tower of the Salvo Palace runs to 27 storeys and reaches a height of 105 metres.

Linguistic note

It may be noted that the use of the word 'Palace' is a translation from the Spanish usage of 'palacio', which in Uruguay and other countries is often employed in the names of what amount to significant, large buildings, and does not necessarily denote any government function.

The name 'Salvo' refers to the Salvo brothers — Ángel, José and Lorenzo — who were prominent Uruguayan men of business. The brothers Salvo thus commissioned Architect Palanti for this project.

Battle of the River Plate, 1940

An interesting curiosity is that in 1939 it was from the top of the Salvo Palace that British Minister in Montevideo, Sir Eugen Millington-Drake, watched the scuttling of the German battleship Admiral Graf Spee after the Battle of the River Plate.

Also worth seeing

In Montevideo , visitor attractions abound. In addition to the various sights in the vicinity of Independence Square (Spanish: Plaza Independencia) which include the Independence Building (or Estévez Palace), the Artigas Mausoleum and the Ciudadela archway, other significant buildings include the Cathedral in Plaza Matriz, the Legislative Palace, and the Cerro fort.

Punta Ballena (distance: approx. 115 kilometres), near Punta del Este, is a popular whale-watching spot.


How to get there: LaTam flies to Montevideo , Uruguay from North American destinations including New York and Toronto . Car rental is available at Montevideo Carrasco International airport. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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