Until this article we’ve been by the sea, we’ve been to museums, and we’ve been to cathedrals, but on this last article I saved the best of Funchal for last: The Old Zone. To the east of town is the street called Santa Maria, the main street of what is the the original city center, from its inception! But first, before divining in this colorful street, I’ll show you another local must-see that sits right at the old zone’s doorway: the Market!
This area of the city is located to the west, starting right next to the square mentioned in the last articles, the Praça da Autonima, here you’ll meet a big yellow structure, that is the Market of Funchal! This a wonderful market, although it is so well known that it overcrowds easily… but I really found it so beautiful that I took many pictures to show you!
The market is divided in three parts, the ground floor, where a more local audience normally shops, the first floor has a more tourist friendly appeal since, besides having a terrace with cafés, here you’ll also be able to taste for free many of the products they sell, form exotic fruit (many different and delicious passion fruit types), spices, candies and gorgeous flowers! These products can also be found one the first floor.
And lastly the third part of the market is the fishmongers, a very contested area since Madeira as a whole is very reliant on fish for food, especially the local Black Sword-Fish and Limpets, both are a delicacy of Madeira, cooked in many different way.
Now, leaving the market you find the entrance to the old zone of Funchal. This area was rebuilt, to an extent, after the storms of 2010 brought rock and dirt from the mountain all the way down to these old streets. But the house and structures from it’s old days where maintained, as well as the painted doors! These aren’t from the old day, but they do embellish the street with color and a local taste, since they mostly painted by local citizens, either on the doors of the many restaurants here, or the doors of some residents of Santa Maria street, or even doors from abandoned buildings, the criteria isn’t very strict on where to paint, just as well as what to paint, because the themes vary from local figures and stories, to, well, whatever the painter wants!
On side note, at the end of Santa Maria street you have three important local businesses, the Fábrica de Chapéus, the Fábrica de Botas and the pizzeria Xaramba. The first two are locals producers of the traditional garb, one is specified on the traditional straw hats of Madeira, and the other is on boots, but on both you’ll find other souvenirs from the island, so if you’re looking for a traditional piece of Madeira, look no further. Xaramba is curious to mention because it is the first ever pizzeria on the whole island, and it’s been on the same place over since.
So this ends my articles on Funchal. It was a big trip, and Funchal has so much to see that I didn’t even mention! So to find out more take a look by yourself, and I’m sure the city won’t disappoint! On this trip I’ve seen other parts of Madeira that I am excited to share with you in the future!
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