Though Santiago's historical district boast many architecturally outstanding buildings, most were built or refurbished in the early 1900s, well after the Spanish Colonial period. The Red House - or Casa Colorada - is a fine exception.
It's no mystery why this squat stone structure has survived Santiago's tectonic history of earthquakes (and the gas-lamp fires that inevitably followed) intact. Originally completed in 1779 as the home of "Count of the Conquest" Don Mateo de Toro y Zambrano, it has served as a salon for Chile's politicians and VIPs for centuries.
Today, the Casa's thick-walled corridors and sturdy rooms are home to the Museo de Santiago, a solid museum featuring dioramas about key moments in the Chilean history.
The Red House is located in the heart of of the Santiago historic district, half a block east of the Plaza de Armas. The area is not the easiest to navigate in a car, but is well served by the metro. The closest stop is the Plaza de Armas station, on the L5 Green Line.
If you don't mind crowds of happy families, visit on Sunday, when admission is free.