Surrounded by low, rippling hills washed golden in the sunlight, SAN FERNANDO, some 55km south of Rancagua, is a busy little agricultural town that makes for a pleasant amble along its streets. The main commercial artery is Manuel Rodríguez, which, on the corner with Valdivia, has the huge nineteenth-century Iglesia de San Francisco, a Neo-Gothic church with a 32m-high tower, which took quite a blow in the 2010 earthquake and is in urgent need of repair. There is a similar monument, the Capilla San Juan de Dios, eight blocks north, on the corner of Negrete and Manso de Velasco. The verdant Plaza de Armas is surrounded by handsome colonial buildings, with the cavernous nineteenth-century Parroquia San Fernando Rey church on its southeastern corner.

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