The Palacio is, by the map, located in the heart of the Old City.
If you look at a map of Montevideo you see at least thirty points of interest in Ciudad Vieja and fewer as you move outward towards other barrios; Centro, Barrio Sur, Palermo, Aguada, Punta Carretas, Tres Cruces, Pocitos.
The dividing lines between the barrios are clearly defined but neighborhoods change as people move into them, establish security, then sell out and move to an even more exclusive block.. Still, the Old City is a place to be if you are a lover of old, museums, architecture, and bustle.
The Palacio Taranco was constructed in the early 1900’s for a wealthy commercial businessman who came to Uruguay from Spain.
Designed by a well known architect of the day, Mr. Taranco’s Palace has high ceilings, fireplaces in every room, large windows that let in light when shutters are open, European tapestries, art, and hand crafted furnishings. These palaces always have libraries and pianos, sitting rooms and gardens. To walk in them you would think the owners were artists instead of businessmen.
A young lady at the information desk explains that the Palace is a family home and has been donated to the city. There are no charges to browse.
Going up a marble staircase to the second floor, I am moved back to an era when this city was moving from horses and carriages to automobiles, and music was moving from ragtime to big band swing.
The Palacio is a step back in time and though the family that made it a home has moved on to another more ethereal neighborhood, it appears they lived a comfortable life with all the distractions money can buy.
Living rich and being rich are not always two sides of the same coin.