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Valparaiso’s Museum House

By Linda Tancs

Pablo Neruda was a Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, diplomat and politician. Of his three homes, his writer’s nook in Valparaiso became his favorite hideaway—although hardly hidden, since it towers above the other rooftops overlooking the south side of a broad, open bay of the Pacific Ocean. The multilayered, multicolored abode is named La Sebastiana after its original owner, Sebastian Collao, who assigned the whole third floor of the building as a bird cage. Neruda’s taste was no less whimsical. Some of the windows resemble a ship’s skylights, and the interior is littered with old maps, paintings, a merry-go-round horse and a large portrait of Walt Whitman, his “father in poetry.” The audio guide is available in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.

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