barrio italia. from the outside, the houses, no more than two stories high, kept its original architecture. it may seem quiet as you wander down the street of avenida italia, lined with trees and unassuming wooden doors. dont hesitate to pop into every one of them, for each house has its own character. the narrow corridor retains its pattern tiled floor and leads you to a spacious open air courtyard, now turned into a quaint cafe. along the alley are little boutiques and galleries with contemporary design carved out of the heritage building. if you are into arts, design and home furnishings, you can wander for hours, immersing in the creative vibe. even if you are not, you will find yourself lured into each unique alley.
just when i thought i couldn’t be more inspired, i wandered into a junction (caupolican x avenida italia) filled with vintage furnishings on the street. skillful craftsmen working on vintage chairs, drawers, cupboards – sanding and painting, restoring them to their original beauty. narrow shops cluttered with old gems, men standing outside chatting in spanish, working, smoking, the smell of dust and paint… add personality to this charming street. a pleasant change from the usual, glitzy malls. you may not end up buying stuff here (i wish i could carry the furniture with me on the plane!) but barrio italia is a great place for those seeking design inspirations and some good photo opportunities. it was a beautiful day when i was there – great natural lighting made some pretty photos. and i left feeling inspired!
to get there, take the metro to either parque bustamante or santa isabel and walk about 5 blocks towards avenida italia. dont forget to bring along a book and enjoy a cuppa in one of the courtyard cafes!
santiago. chile ♥ 4 october 2013