La Boca is one of Buenos Aires' most colorful districts. Italian immigrants were the first settlers of La Boca, and the working class neighborhood was Buenos Aires' first port.
Today the buildings in the barrio are painted in bright colors.
We wandered down the famous pedestrian street of La Caminito, which was named for a popular tango song.
Many local artists were selling their wares, while others danced the tango for the many visitors.
One word of caution -- all the guidebooks caution tourists to visit La Boca during daylight hours or to be sure and stay only in the La Caminito area.
The history of Caminito is basically as follows:
- The Caminito in its days as a railway lot, 1939.
- The Caminito in 1960, newly restored.
* During the 1800s, a small stream flowing into the Riachuelo River ran along the same route where the Caminito is now found.
* Later that century, this area of the stream became known as the Puntin, the Genoese diminutive term for bridge (a small bridge allowed people to cross the stream here).
* When the stream dried up, tracks for the Ferrocarril Buenos Aires y Puerto de la Ensenada were installed at the site, and disused tracks remains at the end of Caminito, along Garibaldi Street.
* In 1954 the rail line was closed and the area where Caminito now is became a landfill and the neighbourhood's worst eyesore.
* Over the following three years, Argentine artist Benito Quinquela Martín, an abandoned orphan who was adopted by a Genoese immigrant couple in La Boca, painstakingly prepared the walls facing the abandoned street, applying pastel colors and, by 1960, having a stage put up at the southern end; the wooden-plank stage was replaced with a nearby theatre house in 1972. The artist was a personal friend of Argentine tango composer Juan de Dios Filiberto, who created a well-known 1926 tune by the same name. Quinquela Martín, who always maintained feeling he owed his neighbourhood the labor of love, died in 1977.