A Monthly Special Feature from The Traveler at

Back to the TouristTravel Home

Back to the Monthly Features Index Page

Get more great travel writing, travel bargains, and great travel resources delivered to your inbox every month!

Subscribe to The Traveler

Stay up to date with The Traveler Blog

Subscribe to The Traveler Blog



Liliana and Sabu standing watch - photo by Suzy Sharpe






A tribute to a young woman that died too soon, and her faithful dog - Photo by Suzy Sharpe





Sabú, the Lone Dog in the City of the Dead
Reported by Suzy Sharpe

Ricoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina

You are walking along the condensed streets of this miniature city. The buildings; crypts with granite walls, some of them two or three stories high. Marble angels peer down at you, look up beseeching God, or kneel with hidden faces. Doors lead inside and you can sometimes see the coffins or the stairs leading underground. But it isn’t gloomy or melancholy. You feel a sense of peace and a great respect for those sleeping here.

Bronze plaques adorn the various crypts, from students to their beloved professors, colleagues of a judge, a doctor’s grateful patients. Reflecting the European mixture of the people of Buenos Aires, the inscriptions are a mixed “salad bowl” of languages: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, English.

You try to decipher some of them until you realize you’re lost in the maze of streets. Maybe you can ask directions of one of the multitude of cats. But that is fruitless, the cat just stares with his emerald eyes, then bored with your questions, walks away.

You turn a corner and see her. Not an angel. Not of marble. Not beseeching, or weeping, nor hiding her face. She is about to step down from her garden. Her left hand holds flowers given by some unknown admirer; her right touches the head of her dog, Sabú, su fiel amigo. Sabú, her faithful friend.

She is Liliana Crociati de Szaszak. On March 1, 1970, the newly married Liliana was sleeping in an Italian Hotel in the Alps when she was killed by an avalanche. She was 26. She stands there, wearing her wedding dress, a look of sadness in her eyes.

Maybe her sadness is for her anguished Papá, who wrote her inscription in Italian, repeatedly asking the God he now doubts, “Perché, perché” “Why, why?” Or for her mother, who designed her crypt of wood and glass to represent her daughter’s life. Gothic arches reach for heaven. No polished granite confines her body, no darkness for the beautiful Liliana. The sun bathes her in light even reaching down to her underground coffin.

She stands about to take a breath, ready to walk, ready to live.

And she is never alone. Forever watching with her, her loyal companion, Sabú.

Cemeterio de la Ricoleta is open 7am to 6pm daily. Admission is free.


Liliana and Sabú were sculpted by Wíeredovol Viladrich


Inscription at Liliana's feet:

To my Daughter...

I only ask myself why

you departed and left my heart destroyed

that wanted only you, why?


Only destiny knows the reason, and I ask myself why?

Because we can’t be without you, that’s why.

You were so beautiful that invidious nature destroyed you


I only ask myself why, if God exists, does he take away that which is His name.

Because He destroys us and leaves us to an eternity of sadness!

Why? I believe in fate and not in you. Why?

Because I only know that I always dream with you, why is that?

For all the love my heart feels for you.

Why? Why?

Your Papá

back to the top

Published by TDS Information Service
©copyright 2001-2006. All Rights Reserved