No part of the Chile is more than an hour’s journey from the sea. This is one characteristic
of the country, and an indication of the extremely long north-south strip of territory
that is vastly varied natural and cultural heritage and biodiversity. Another unique
feature is the Atacama Desert, in the north of the country, where the largest astronomical
observatory in the world is situated, in the town of Alma: this area offers the clearest and brightest
view of the stars in the world, practically devoid of clouds. And the Alma Observatory is
only one of 42 astronomical observatories in Chile.
Another decidedly unique attraction is Easter Island, declared part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1995. This – known as Rapa Nui in the native language – is one of hundreds of islands off the
Chilean coast, but is of course the most famous thanks to its mysterious giant Moai statues.
The central area of the country is dominated by lakes and volcanoes. This area also features the large island of Chiloè, part of the archipelago of the same name and famous for its churches built totally without the use of nails. Then there is also the extraordinary area of Patagonia, which has the highest concentration of thermal springs in South America, with over 270 thermal centers. It also contains the Torres del Paine National Park, a world biosphere reserve, as well as numerous glaciers: 1,750 of them, which cover 3% of Chile’s total land surface.
An ultra-varied range of gastronomic possibilities
With so many very different geographical and cultural contexts, Chile’s gastronomic possibilities are
enormous, with every region having its own traditions. Naturally, with a coastline of over 4,000 km,
fish and seafood is ubiquitous, including the famous Torres del Paine salmon… the second most
exported salmon in the world, after Norwegian salmon. There is also an abundance of oysters, eels,
groupers, crabs, sea urchins, shellfish, and much more, all of which figure into countless different
The specialty of the central valleys, on the other hand, is wine: Chilean wines are appreciated
throughout the continent and the world. The country has 11 wine routes which pass through the
13 valleys of Aconcagua, Casablanca, San Antonio-Leyda, Maipo, Cachapoal, Curicó and Maule. It
also produces copious amounts of fruit, especially pears and cherries (particularly famous those of
the northern city Copiapò, known as the flowering desert, on account of its highly particular
One traditional dish (especially associated with the island of Chloè) is the Curanto: this may be
made with seafood or meat, or both, with potatoes, cooked in a hole in the ground covered by
heated rock and banana leaves.
The central regions’ typical dishes are more influenced by rural traditions and by European
immigrants. Its traditional dishes (served in Expo Milano 2015) include Empanadas flavored
with cilantro, Pastel de Choclo (a maize paie) and Humitas (steam-cooked corn on the cob).
The Love of Chile, on display in Expo Milano 2015
These gastronomic specialties can be tasted in the large restaurant on the ground floor, which
features a single huge central table, symbolic of the collective ‘mensa’. Chile’s Pavilion is built
entirely from pinewood from Monterey, one of the country’s most widely exported qualities.
The visitor enters by passing through a kind of grotto, accompanied by the words of the Chilean
poet Raùl Zurita, author of the poem El Amor del Chile (The Love of Chile, which is the country’s
participating theme at Expo Milano 2015). This is underlain by the strange natural sound of salt
crumbling when the temperature changes, recorded in the Salar de Domeico, the huge salt desert in
the Atacama region.
From here you reach the upper floor, where videos on large panels show the pear harvest, livestock
raising activities, fishing, and also the preparation of Curanto. In the following space, thanks to
spectacular projections in 3D 4k, the visitor is completely immersed in Chile’s stunning natural
Explore Chile’s Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015