Amid the exhaust of traffic, tucked away on a side street in the center of the city is a glorious church that is likely visited by few foreigners (though Pope John Paul II did come by once).

Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Piedad

The interior is breathtaking and in astonishing good shape, practically perfect with polished columns crowned with gold, chandeliers, and the late afternoon light accenting the pink trim of the ceiling.

Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Piedad

Much of the ceiling, on a closer look, is trompe l’oeil and, perhaps, a little overdone. The figures of Adam and Eve rising over the nave is almost too much yet the church is crowded with locals on a weekday afternoon. The faithful coming in pray, the only sounds being the steps echoing on the floor and the diminished roar of the buses outside, a reminder of hurried lives.

As I sit in a pew near the entrance I hear a voice to my left, from over near a side altar, the one to St. Teresa I think. An elderly woman prays aloud, her words accompanied by the creaking of the door as a young woman enters, perhaps a parishioner or someone simply needing a moment’s reflection, or just a curious wanderer like myself.

You can find Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Piedad at the corner of Bartolomé Mitre and Paraná. Take a moment to admire the pasaje across the street. A few years ago the pasaje was opened to the public but I’ve noticed that the gates to the pasaje are always locked the last few times I’ve been by there.