A compact but absolutely lovely park, the Quinta Vergara pays homage to the future with its spaceshiplike music amphitheater, and to the past, with its converted 1910 Venetian-style palace, the former home of historical heavyweights the Alvarez/Vergara family, now converted into a fine arts museum. Quinta Vergara was originally the site of an early 19th-century hacienda, which was acquired by Portuguese shipping magnate Francisco Alvarez and his wife Dolores in 1840. Dolores was a keen botanist and in between bouts of pre-Raphaeilite languor, she transformed the gardens into an exotic Eden featuring many exotic plants brought from Europe and Asia by her seafaring son, Salvador. Taking center stage in the park, the striking Italianate Palacio Vergara was built in 1906 by Blanca Vergara, Salvador's granddaughter. When Blanca's mother married José Francisco Vergara, the man who founded Viña del Mar in 1874, two of Chile's most influential families were united. The mansion now houses the family's collection of baroque European paintings, as well as oil paintings of Chilean VIPs during the 19th and early 20th century. Every February, this park fills with music lovers who come for the annual Festival of Song, which features largely Latin pop boy bands hotly pursued by cadres of screaming groupies. The rest of the year the park is an idyllic spot for a quiet stroll.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Highly Recommended 2010