Meaning of Conventillo in English

Meaning of Conventillo in English

The notion of conventillo refers to the construction that houses numerous small houses and that has certain spaces in common, such as corridors and patios.

For example: “The singer grew up in a tenement house in Montevideo”, “A fire in a tenement house left three dead and eight injured”, “The neighborhood grew at the beginning of the 20th century due to the installation of numerous tenement houses”.

According to, it is important to know that not in all countries they are called conventillos. Thus, for example, in Mexico they are called neighborhoods and in Spain they are called corralas. In large Spanish cities, such as Madrid, it is common to still find corralas in the historic center. And those have become one of the tourist charms of the aforementioned area.

Both in the Lavapiés and La Latina neighborhoods of the Spanish capital there are old houses of this type that are currently being reformed to continue working as houses or being rehabilitated to give shape to museums and cultural centers of different types.

In a conventillo, each room or room in the building becomes the home of a different family. In general, these rooms are arranged around a central patio, which functions as a distributor. Sometimes the bathrooms, like the patio and corridors, are shared by all the inhabitants.

Among the positive aspects of living in conventillos is that all the neighbors know each other and that, as a general rule, they usually make up a small family. However, it must also be taken into account that, against it, there is the fact that intimacy and privacy are lacking, as well as the fact that common facilities must be shared, which can lead to certain confrontations due to the use made of these.

Conventillos were very prevalent in several South American nations in the early 20th century. European immigrants who arrived with limited economic resources used to rent rooms in tenement houses, which generally had quite precarious sanitary and building conditions.

In these conventillos, in this way, people of different nationalities lived together, who could even speak different languages: Spanish, Italian, etc. The Conventillo Mediomundo in Montevideo (Uruguay) and the Conventillo de la Paloma in Buenos Aires (Argentina) are two of the best-known historical conventillos.

The conventillos have inspired a multitude of artists. Thus, for example, at a theatrical level we can highlight the play “El conventillo de la Paloma”, which is a one-act farce and three scenes. Alberto Vacarezza is the Argentine author of the aforementioned sainete, which premiered in 1929 and takes Paloma as its protagonist. She is a woman who lives in a conventillo and who has all the neighbors in love with her.

The idea of conventillo, on the other hand, is used to name the place that is characterized by a lack of privacy or by gossip (the spread of gossip). Someone, in this context, can affirm that he resigned from his job since the company where he worked was a tenement.