Clustered in the lee of San Cristobel Hill, Bella Vista looks down across the river to the city of Santiago beyond. Bella Vista is a place apart and not just by virtue of its position. Its low, brightly painted buildings and small sunny squares are in sharp contrast to the neo-classical stone grandeur, towering concrete and vast plazas downtown.
Bella Vista is a place of artists and artisans. It was here that the poet Pablo Neruda made his home in the beautiful La Chascona, which today is a museum. The haunting music of the Andes echoes through streets redolent of rustic Chilean fare and lined with theatres, cafes, restaurants and tavernas. It’s a lively, yet laidback, slow-paced place.
Most mportantly, Bella Vista is the heartland of the rare blue-green stone, found only in Chile and Afghanistan – Lapislazuli. Here, in dozens of tiny workshops, craftsmen shape, fashion and set this semi-precious jewel into exquisite and unusual, yet very reasonably priced pieces.