Welcome to a visual tour of Monte Palace Tropical Garden, Madeira. As these first photos show you, it’s a remarkable place with a tremendous mix of art, architecture and vegetation from many parts of the world. Seeing the old original hotel juxtaposed against classic Japanese torii-style temple architecture (as in one of these photos above) , I initially wanted to be snooty and think things like “what a hodge podge this place is.” Oh, for at least a minute or two, how my inner intellectual purist side SO wanted to go snarky critic 😊.
But…I could not. So in love was I with the beauty and loving care visible in every path, every fountain, every sculpture and corner of the garden, every bed of plants and each vista. So impressed with the range, breadth and sheer number and scale of plants, sculpture, fountains…everything…that I just wanted to stay there forever and enjoy the peace and beauty. It’s such an inspiring place, done with such care and attention (many employees visible everywhere, doing maintenance and gardening, running shuttles for those who want to visit but aren’t up for the walks up and down hill), that I was among many who clearly came away inspired with wonder and pleasure.
Its museum building houses two floors chock full of unique African Stone sculptures from Zimbabwe and elsewhere, of a style and beauty that I hadn’t yet seen at other museums or countries I’ve visited – as well as a floor of geodes and other minerals for which I just didn’t have time. Its walks host a lovely series of commissioned (must be) tile art showing the historic kings & queens or Portugal plus its republics, as well as an overview of Madeira’s history, and then a dazzling range of contemporary and historic decorative tiles from around Portugal. These and more you will see in photo galleries below. Thus, the beautiful and unforgettable Monte Palace Gardens gets its own special entry and inspired me to revive my Urban Garden series even more than the other lovely gardens of Funchal had already prompted. (For those paying attention, you’ll notice here as well as in yesterday’s Botanic Garden post that those traditional A-frame houses from Santana also merit a place in each; and I still have more to show you from Santana itself, when I get caught up.) I hope you enjoy these photos even a small fraction of how much I enjoyed my five hours there.