Situated 253 kilometres from Santiago, Talca is the capital of the province of the same name and of the Maule region. An important administrative, economic and cultural centre, it is the largest city in Chile’s Central Valley. It is flanked to the south by the commune of Maule, to the east by San Clemente, to the north by Pelarco and San Rafael and to the west by Pencahue.

Agriculture and wine in particular plays an important part in Talca’s economy, while Maule’s coastal areas are a major attraction, with their beaches and varied cuisine, as are its mountains. Not far from Talca lies the Radal Siete Tazas National Park, which takes its name from the seven pools – each with their own waterfall – formed along the Claro River.

Places of interest Talca lies in the Maule Valley, an important wine-growing region that is home to a large number of both traditional and modern wineries, not to mention boutique bodegas offering specialised services such as vinotherapy sessions and olive oil tastings.

Like many cities in central Chile, Talca boasts an important cultural heritage. Its many historical buildings include the O’Higgins Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Villa Cultural Huilquilemu. Home to colonial architecture and local crafts, the town of Chanco, which enjoys protected status as one of the country’s zonas típicas, is also well worth a visit.

The region’s biggest natural haven is the Altos de Lircay National Reserve, which has many pleasant spots for hikers to enjoy such as the La Laguna del Alto, El Enladrillado and La Playa Valle del Venado. Close to the reserve are the areas of Vilches Bajo, Vilches Medio and Vilches Alto, where the Lircay River runs, forming peaceful stretches of clear blue water and beautiful deep pools.

Football The city’s football team is Rangers, which was founded on 2 November 1902 by a group of teachers from the Liceo de Hombres and the Escuela Superior N°1. The club was named after Glasgow Rangers at the suggestion of one of the founding members, who hailed from the United Kingdom.

Nicknamed El Piducano after the river estuary on which the city sits, Rangers are Chile’s fourth-oldest professional team and play at the Estadio Fiscal de Talca, which was refurbished in 2009 and reopened in 2011.