It would be hard to pinpoint what part of Valpo makes up her heart… is it the history of this bustling port? Or the National Congress Building? Or maybe the steep, undulating hills, crowded with colorful houses and funiculars?
Whatever the most important part of Valparaíso may be, her poetry and soul undoubtedly rest in the street art and graffiti that bathe every wall with color and life.
As you can see, there is a vast range of style, skill, message, and location in this “graffiti.” Not to mention the striking scale of some of the murals. Check out the mural below, which can be seen from the Paseo Gervasoni.
This is why, when you go to Valparaíso, you go to walk, to observe. Not so much to do as to feel… and by the end of the day, you will feel tired. (There are many hills to climb, and your feet are the best way to do it!)
If you want to be more structured and intentional about your exploration, plan your graffiti adventures around Valpo’s many paseos and miradores. (See a list here.) For example, you might start by taking the Concepción funicular up to Paseo Gervasoni, loop around to Paseo Yugoslavo to visit the Baburizza Palace (See my post here!), which is a beautiful building that hosts the Municipal Fine Arts Museum, and finally work your way to Cerro Florida to visit La Sebastiana.
If you don’t want to plan it out step by step, wandering the streets of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción will give you ample opportunity to get your eye-candy fix. This is one of Valpo’s most historic neighborhoods and a big part of why UNESCO declared Valparaíso a World Heritage Site in 2003. This map gives a pretty good idea of where you’ll be roaming.
But how do we achieve this kind of respect for street art in our own cities? Comment with your thoughts about how to find the balance between discouraging vandalism and encouraging art.
For more posts about Valparaíso check out Palacio Baburizza: Valparaíso’s Museum of Fine Arts and La Sebastiana: Neruda’s Whimsical Valparaíso House.