La Sebastiana (Ferrari 692, tel. 0322/ 256606) is open 10:10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily except Monday. If either Monday or Tuesday is a holiday, closing day can change. Admission costs US$5.
With his love of the sea, Pablo Neruda could hardly resist a residence in Valparaíso, and bought this five-story house in 1961. He also loved the city’s informality and spontaneity:
Valparaíso grabbed me, she subjected me to her will, to her absurdity: Valparaíso is a mess, a cluster of crazy houses.
The Fundación Neruda opened La Sebastiana to the public in 1992, and in at least one sense it’s the best of his three houses—unlike Santiago’s La Chascona and Isla Negra, with their relatively regimented guided tours, visitors can roam through the house more or less at will. Like La Chascona and Isla Negra, it displays a whimsical assortment of artifacts the poet collected on his global travels. In addition to the house, the Fundación Neruda operates a café, cultural center, and souvenir shop.
The most direct route to La Sebastiana is to walk up Cerro Bellavista and follow the signs from the Museo de Aire Libre; alternatively, take a taxi colectivo from Plazuela Ecuador or the Verde Mar bus “O,” from Plaza Sotomayor to the 6900 block of Avenida Alemania, from which the house is a short walk.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition