The city of La Serena in the north-central region of Chile has almost 470 years of history. It was the second city founded in the Captaincy of Chile by the Spanish conquistadors, after the capital Santiago. Captain Francisco de Aguirre
founded the village in 1544 as a fortress to protect his soldiers from the continuous siege of the Indians.
The town grew slowly along a river that brought little water from the Andes and eventually was channeled and covered to create the present avenue named after the Spanish conquistador. Francisco de Aguirre Avenue became the main route of entry to La Serena and one of the favorite places of recreation for Serenenses
(residents of La Serena
). This space was used to commemorate all major patriotic and religious events and the celebrations of Christmas and New Year holidays.
Gabriel Gonzalez, president of Chile from 1946 to 1952, born in La Serena, had an extraordinary love and dedication to the development of his hometown and enthusiastically contributed to major improvements
in the urban environment. One important undertaking was the creation of an open air museum, also known as “The Sculpture Park," which main purpose was to make art accessible to the people through displaying classical Italian works of art in public spaces.
The sculptures at the park, carved in Carrara marble, are replicas of famous sculptures and come from workshops and art galleries of Pisa, Florence, Rome and Naples. The main access to this beautiful open air museum is a marble entrance which was donated to the city by the British colony in 1910. Currently, Francisco de Aguirre Avenue of La Serena has 30 sculptures that are beautifully framed by the neo-colonial architecture of the city. The sculpture park of La Serena is an important public space widely used by the community for cultural activities and festivals.
La Serena city is 471 kilometers north of Santiago de Chile. It is the capital of the Coquimbo Region and is home to 210,000 people. The city is accessible from Santiago via Route 5 North, approximately 5 hours by car, or 1 hour by plane.