I remember the first time I visited Pablo Neruda’s house in Isla Negra, we were welcomed by a guide (today they use the audio guide system), who told us at the entrance of the house: “when you enter this house, you must take into account that the place, the type of construction, the materials, the decoration, was not the work of an architect or builder, but of a poet”… How right she was, for example, in the corridor that communicates the access to the dining room, on the right side, there is a window overlooking the sea. On that side there are glass bottles of different shapes and sizes in bluish colors on the floor. On the left side, there are also other bottles of different shapes and sizes in brown colors. The explanation was that the blue ones are on the sea side and the brown ones on the land side… In the same corridor there is a window facing the sea side, with some shelves full of ships inside the bottles, why in that place? because when looking towards the sea, you can see how the ships sail…
Back in Chile from Europe in 1937, the poet was looking for a place to work on his Canto General, a great book on the history of the American peoples. "The wild coast of Isla Negra, with the tumultuous movements of its waves, inspired me to passionately engage in the work of my new song," he later wrote in his memoir "Confieso que he vivido.
Neruda loved Valparaiso, in 1959, he asked his friends Marie and Sara Vila to find him a place in Valparaiso where he could live and write in peace. Finding a house according to Neruda's wishes was not easy. It had to be on a hill, but close to the city plan, looking towards the sea and the hills, far from everything but close to the means of transport, in a quiet neighborhood, isolated but not much, original but comfortable and moreover at a good price.
The house that Neruda built in 1953, in the Bellavista neighborhood of Santiago was named "La Chascona" in honor of Matilde Urrutia, his secret lover until 1955 and later his third wife. In her memories Matilde remembers an afternoon when walking through the neighborhood they found this place covered with bushes at the foot of the San Cristobal hill.
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