As you wander around the city, look out for examples of fileteado or filete art, particularly on shop signs. Characterized by ornate lettering, heavy shading and the use of scrolls and flowers entwined with the azure and white of the national flag, this distinctive art form first made its appearance on the city transport system in the early twentieth century. Often associated with tango, its actual origins are a little murky, but it seems to have been introduced by Italian immigrants. Banned from public transport in 1975 – the authorities felt bus destinations and numbers should be unadorned – it moved onto signs above stores and cafés as well as more traditional canvases. Today it is synonymous with Porteño identity, particularly in the south of the city. As well as tango stars, a popular subject is the pithy saying, including the classic si bebe para olvidar paga antes de tomar (“if you drink to forget, pay first”) and the more obscure si querés la leche fresca, atá la vaca a la sombre (“if you want fresh milk, tie the cow up in the shade”).

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