Rua de São Francisco

The small Rua de São Francisco finds its margins in Rua da Carreira and Avenida Arriaga, it crosses only with Rua Ivens and is known for being the oldest street in the city.

Its toponymy is due to the existence of the Church and Convent of São Francisco that once existed here, demolished in the 19th century, and occupied the land that currently forms the Municipal Garden and the Baltazar Dias Municipal Theatre.

It was once called Rua 22 de Março 1921, a designation attributed by Funchal City Hall in 1922, as it was the date when the Portuguese aviators Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral made the aerial trip between Lisbon and Madeira.

The Municipal Garden, completed in 1880, occupies much of the western side of this street. Once known as the Dona Amélia Garden, named after the former Queen of Portugal, it is a pleasant green space with a variety of flora from Madeira Island and other parts of the world. A lake with ducks and swans, a stream with fish, works of art scattered around the garden and an auditorium for cultural activities are all part of the offerings of this space.

On the opposite side of the garden are the Blandy Wine Lodge, one of the oldest Madeira wine producers, founded by John Blandy, with over 200 years of existence. This beautiful winery contains a museum telling the family history and portraying the production of Madeira wine itself, with wine tastings and daily guided tours, in several languages.

A little higher up, and directly connected from the wineries, is a small shopping arcade, the Arcadas de São Francisco, which brings together some shops, cafes and restaurants and provides a car park for visitors.