It is not surprising that with a name like ‘Barrio Italia’ (Italian Neighborhood) this corner of Chile is filled with designers and chefs!
Chile has many immigrant influences, and one of the most stylish – and delicious – of those were the Italians. Famed for its Italian roots, excellent cafes and design shops, Barrio Italia in Santiago is an epicurean delight as well as a feast for the eyes…
The origin of the name comes from some of the first settlers here. The Italian Girardi family came to Santiago and opened a hat factory in the area in 1905. As their industry grew, many other Italian families moved in, followed by Spanish families too. The neighborhood grew and the European expats began to set up shops in front of their houses, as they typically did back at home
The area became known as the ‘Italian neighborhood’ (or ‘barrio’ in Spanish) and a large street in the middle of the district was named Avenida, Italia alongside the large art-deco theatre, Teatro Italia.
Nowadays the neighborhood has few Italians left, although the legacy remains with unique design shops, many antique stores and cute cafés.
Written for 1756 Magazine, China