The monumental part of the cemetery of La Chacarita, one of the oldest of the Gran Ciudad, where are buried important Argentine personalities, brings to mind the Laudomia description given by Italo Calvino in “Invisible Cities”. Unlike Anglo-Saxon cemeteries in which nature and lawn prevail, or Latin in which every individual has his own plaque or monument, in this what is striking is the precise urban and building design, the presence of real buildings marks the inner streets just like the city that is outside. A century ago the living population built the city of the dead as a mirror of their representation of the city, of social hierarchies and of the business success. Then the action of the time through the decades has brought to light the fates of individuals and of their families.
“Like Laudomia, every city has at its side another city whose inhabitants are called by the same names: it is the Laudomia of the dead, the cemetery… The properties of the double city are well known. The more the Laudomia of the living becomes crowded and expanded, the more the expanse of tombs increases beyond the walls. The streets of the Laudomia of the dead are just wide enough to allow the gravedigger’s cart to pass, and many windowless buildings look out on them; but the pattern of the streets and the arrangement of the dwellings repeat those of the living Laudomia, and in both, families are more and more crowded together, in compartments crammed one above the other. On fine afternoons the living population pays a visit to the dead and they decipher their own names on their stone slabs: like the city of the living, this other city communicates a history of toil, anger, illusions, emotions; only here all has become necessary, divorced from chance, categorized, set in order. And to feel sure of itself, the living Laudomia has to seek in the Laudomia of the dead the explanation of itself, even at the risk of finding more there, or less: explanations for more than one Laudomia, for different cities that could have been and were not, or reasons that are incomplete, contradictory, disappointing…”