Rua Dr. Fernão de Ornelas

Rua Dr Fernão de Ornelas marks the beginning of the city’s expansion to welcome tourists and prepare for the future, idealised by the youngest Mayor of Funchal to date.

Its toponym is due to the man who was Mayor of Funchal at the age of 27. Today, it is possible to walk along almost its entire length, passing by the shops and esplanades that have been growing there, particularly in the second decade of the 21st century.

The street was being opened in the 40s of the 20th century when Fernão de Ornelas ceased, at the age of 38, to be the leader of the city’s destinies, but public recognition remained in what is now the best-known street in the City. For many, he was one of the best mayors of the capital, due to his bold vision for the city.

This mayor designed several works, especially the viewpoints in the city, so that the most beautiful landscapes could be appreciated from various points, having opened and widened streets and outlined the tourist route of the capital.

There are few shops more than twenty years old left on the street, with a few exceptions. The Casa Chinesa opened when the street was inaugurated and today resists the passage of time with undeniable heroism, despite having itself stopped in time. Entering Casa Chinesa seems to take us back to the last century.

Most of the street is closed to traffic and there are several esplanades along its 200 metres, which goes all the way to the Market Bridge, in front of the Lavradores Market Building.

When you go down the street, on the right side, after passing the junction with Rua do Ribeirinho, you will find a lady sitting in a wicker chair embroidering. Nowadays she is one of the oldest embroiderers in Madeira still active, giving her stitches in the immaculate cloth, while you follow the daily life of the busiest street in town.

At that moment, you will know that you are at the door of the company “Bordal”, another of our city’s “Lojas com História” (Shops with History).